Times are challenging for businesses right now, and they have been for many years. Slowing markets, supply chain issues, payment delays and rising inflation have meant costs for many businesses have spiralled.
Understandably, businesses are looking to tighten their belts, but when tough times arise, any spend on marketing-related activities is often the first to get the cull.
And while cutting the PR budget may save you money right now, you need to ask: “Will it cost my business long-term”?
Understanding your growth ambitions
Before making any cuts within your business, particularly your marketing spend, it’s crucial to understand what you are looking to achieve for your business over the next 6-12 months and beyond. From this, you can work backwards to plan the required resources to make this happen.
Have your objectives for the PR services been met?
If you have been working with a PR agency, reviewing and reflecting on the results to date and whether they align with what you set out to achieve is important.
Has the agency helped you to meet the agreed objectives at the outset of working together? Have you achieved press coverage in the desired titles? Has traffic to your website, leads, and sales increased during that period?
Consider what other activity you may have been undertaking alongside this to achieve those results to help you understand the direct impact of PR.
The added value of PR
Often the work PR agencies undertake extends well beyond getting your organisation placed in publications. Such activity might include creating onsite content, which they will undoubtedly use to help increase your backlink profile during the PR activity.
This content often gets utilised across your social media channels, increasing your reach even further. Plus, coverage in wishlist publications also allows for bragging rights, too… even more content for your social media channels.
Understand the wider results from PR activity
If you have been undertaking PR or any other marketing activity, it’s crucial to understand what results you have achieved from it to identify which areas you should continue to focus on.
If your PR agency is solely reporting on coverage achieved, this is not good enough. Any agency worth working with should be able to provide you with robust reports, and while it’s not always possible to directly attribute a piece of PR coverage to a specific lead or sale, they should be able to report on how both organic and referral traffic to your website has increased during the time worked together.
Other considerations to take into account include direct approaches from the media as a result of raising awareness and increasing trust in your organisation and key people within it.
What about Digital PR RESULTS?
Taking it to the next level, how has that PR, and more specifically, Digital PR activity, impacted your search engine optimisation (SEO)? Are keyword rankings improving? Is your business ranking for new search terms helping to drive more traffic to your website? Is your Domain Authority increasing even further?
Good PR should go well beyond just getting featured in target media publications. It should be supporting all areas of your marketing mix.
Why should you continue to undertake PR activity?
Even after you have done all the above, you might still be questioning why you should continue undertaking some PR activity.
- Media Relations: Getting started with PR activity can be a slow burn, so we always recommend six months of activity as an ideal to begin seeing results. When we say results, this is a mix at which the pace of coverage is achieved, but also for you to see enhancements in other areas such as SEO, enquiries and sales. That being said, once momentum builds up, we begin to see our clients being approached directly for contributions to stories journalists are writing. Below are just a few examples of press activity achieved due to journalists approaching our clients off the back of seeing them on other media channels.
Pic: Examples of press coverage achieved as a result of direct journalist approaches.
- Reputation Management: PR is critical in shaping and maintaining a company’s reputation. It helps build a positive image and manage perceptions among customers, investors, and the public. A good reputation can enhance trust and credibility, which are essential for long-term success.
- Recruitment and Employee Engagement: PR can also help to attract and retain talent. This is often one of the core objectives outlined by the client when commencing PR activity due to a challenging talent landscape.
- Long-term success: While quick wins are fantastic, they’re not always achievable. Often growth from PR activity, especially subject to your industry, can happen over a period of time.
Take into account your sales cycle or your target audience in general. Does it typically take your customer profile longer to make a purchase, or do you have to change audience perceptions before they make a purchase? This all takes time but ensures that when they are ready to click buy or get in touch with you, your business is at the top of their list.
Still thinking of cutting the budget?
It’s important to remember that reducing PR spending too drastically can harm a company’s reputation, diminish brand visibility, and limit its ability to engage with the public and media effectively.
One key thing to remember is that if you’ve already been putting that work in, that when the time comes to start again, you will often have to build up that momentum once again to get you back on track.