4 ways PR drives sales

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It's a saying older than time. And, as an entrepreneur or small business owner, you've likely heard it over and over again. But is it really true that it takes money to make money? In one word: Yes. I believe it does take money to launch a successful business venture—of any scope.

Most of the time, though, the upfront costs of starting a business aren't as high as one would expect. Especially when it comes to PR.

While return on investment isn’t something most businesses immediately association with PR, they should.

Why? Because truly exceptional PR has a direct impact on revenue.

Although payback on PR has a longer time horizon than advertising, the upside is that a carefully crafted PR strategy can produce a larger revenue gain than a short-term advertising campaign.

Think about it, if your PR strategy is on point, your business will ultimately notice an increase in sales and revenues.

Still not convinced that PR can be one of the most powerful ways to jumpstart sales and revenues? Here are four ways PR can help your bottom line.

Creates visibility

At Hearsay, we encounter a number of businesses and brand that can’t seem to gain traction in the marketplace—even if they appear to be doing all the best practices right.

More times than not, the problem isn’t their marketing plan or business strategy, it’s their lack of visibility. A sound PR strategy increases a brand’s or business’ visibility in the public eye and sets the stage for true industry presence.

How does PR compare to advertising in the visibility realm? Not to sound biased, but it dominates. On both the front of drawing attention and generating interest.

The big difference between PR and advertising is that PR takes a lot more effort. Hence, why the method is referred to in the marketing world as “earned media.”

Anyone—from a soloentrepreneur to a well-staffed startup—can conduct PR if they have the time, know-how, and persistence. PR is a great equalizer that can put you on a level playing field with companies that spend millions on ads.

Think about it, what is more likely to catch your attention, an article about a new brand in in USA Today or a banner ad? Whether your business is B2B or B2C, PR can create massive awareness for you.

PR also can generate interest primarily based on the fact that news stories by their very nature are more credible than advertisements.

With the rise of online advertising, the average consumer is bombarded with marketing messages all day long—up to 5,000 times a day!

It’s no surprise that most of these will be ignored. But the power of the press, on the other hand, means that stories will capture (and hold) attention.

Why? Because reporters are adept at writing eye-catching headlines and stories that they think are of interest. Therefore, successful pitching of the media is driven by how interesting one makes his or her idea to media outlets.

This is why it’s important when pitching to remember to sell your story, not the product. Pique a reporter’s interest, and the battle is half won.

Stimulates action

Another way PR can immediately jumpstart sales, is by stimulating desire for your brand, product, or service. Placing stories in the press that play on the themes of an event, scarcity, herd mentality, and prestige can all stimulate desire.

While conventional wisdom holds that PR works best for awareness but isn’t meant for generating conversions, combining the power of content marketing with PR is a proven way to get your target customers to take action.

Not sure how to get started? A whitepaper, customer testimonial, survey results, or infographic all can be promoted through PR tactics that funnel to a lead-generation form or trackable URL.

And don’t forget, good press always has a way of snowballing into more good press.

Enhances credibility

Today’s consumers and B2B buyers are more skeptical than ever about marketing messages. And they should be.

With every brand fighting to stand out in the crowd, nothing stops businesses from throwing out wild claims daily without merit to garner attention.

When a respected third-party talks about your brand, however, people tend to listen.

Good PR communicates your brand’s or business’ key messages through these third-party sources, giving you more credibility with the audiences that matter.

Not convinced? Let’s envision two startups, each with a kickass website.

The first startup’s site calls out a where they’ve recently been featured. The list includes the logos of media outlets like CNBC, Bloomberg, Inc., and Wall Street Journal.

On the second startup’s site, there are no media mentions, links, or logos anywhere to be found.

If all other things were equal, which startup would have more credibility in your eyes? Obviously, the first one.

PR is a powerful tool to be used to enhance credibility in the eyes of your current and potential customers. Once that credibility is achieved, it’s difficult for your competition to steal it away.

Still not convinced? Imagine the two startups from before and that both have a press section on their website.

The first startup has a solid history of press releases being published every few weeks. The topics of these announcements include product launches, events the startup is attending, awards the business has received, and more.

The second startup’s site also has a list of announcements; however, their last one was published more than a year ago.

Why is this important? Because the first site reassures anyone who visits is that things at that startup are humming along like a well-oiled machine. Things are happening!

That’s the power of consistent PR. It’s also could be what it takes to swing a purchasing decision in your favor.

Maintains relevancy

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that advertising stops when the advertising budget does. Media coverage, on the other hand, lives on in infamy thanks to the glory that is the internet.

While your banner ad may have long since faded away from memory, a news article placed in a respected outlet stays online for a long time. Even long after your PR representation has stopped pitching on your behalf.

Seeing a feature article on your brand or business will go a long way to increasing your awareness—and revenues—when a potential customer searches for your brand by name.

Not sure what you should be announcing to maintain relevancy for your brand or business? Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Thought leadership articles let reporters know that your business is flush with expert sources that are readily available to provide quotes, validate data, or give opinions.
  • Whitepapers and infographics serve as timely, relevant, and educational resources to current trends or hot button issues.
  • Survey results are well liked by the press as they contain measurable public opinions, but at the same time, also establish you as an industry thought leader.
  • Customer testimonials provide third-party endorsement to one of the most important questions a reporter will ask you, which is “Who is using your product or service?”

 Ready to see if PR can help increase your sales? Schedule a consult today!

Want more helpful tips like the ones above plus more? Check out The Buzz: A Media Darling’s Guide to Press Coverage or sign up for exclusive Hearsay content.