What is said about products is now more important than anything else in achieving sales targets.
In fact, 19 out of 20 of us now make our buying decisions based on brand mentions and customer reviews, an approach that has been accelerated by lockdown and how we have ramped up our use of online purchases over high street purchases.
Which firmly puts the spotlight on winning recommendations, more even than traditional advertising.
Advertising is always seen as ‘paid profiling’ and believed less and less by consumers simply because it’s paid for, and of course businesses are going to say good things about their products and are hardly independent. In fact, in PR value circles, good PR is worth up to 10 times the cost of equivalent advertising.
So, the focus understandably is on independents, the two target audiences being customers, and commentators.
Customer reviews are exactly that, but ‘commentators’ are what PR is all about…..enticing independent, trusted writers and broadcasters to make positive references about products and businesses, whether in social media or traditional media.
Whereas advertising is ‘paid profiling’, PR is ‘earned profiling’, which means that businesses can’t expect commentators to give them free advertising space, but rather they have to provide the ammunition for quality coverage. This can be news stories or well-timed product profiling but must always have at its heart the objective of helping the journalist create good copy. Coverage has to be earned.
The value of good, ‘earned’ coverage can be sizeable. Being picked up in the Enterprise columns of the Sunday Times, for example, has the potential to attract 772,509 readers and, both have a material effect on a business’ SEO to help position it in web searches, and drive up immediate sales.
Both are important as around 4 our of 10 people in the UK still read newspapers, and 8 out of 10 search the internet.
And, of course the Sunday Times is not the only newspaper. There are about 1500 regional newspapers in the UK, not to mention all the trade and consumer magazines that, until lockdown, we thumbed through at the railway stations whilst waiting for trains.
Within these are the 73,000 journalists in the UK hungry for business stories.
So, what are the key actions in attracting their attention?
Business West Chambers of Commerce PR partner JournoLink, provides the THREE TOP TIPS to achieve this:
- Think like the journalist.
Focus on the news story, with the clear objective of capturing the journalists’ interest such that they think their readers will in turn be interested. And get the timing right, either aligned to relevant trending news, or be in line with a journalist’s schedule. Christmas gift columns for example are compiled from September.
- Make the most of online tools available through your PR partner.
They will do the heavy lifting for you in targeting the right journalists, without breaking the bank. But they can also help with tips on what events are coming up that might influence the news, and also link businesses to journalists when the journalists are proactively looking for case studies and quotes for articles they are writing.
- Stick to the plan.
The more your business name is in front of the journalists, the more likely they will take note of what you are saying. PR is not always a marathon, but it’s not a sprint either. Good coverage has to be ‘earned’ over a period.
Written by BWCC’s PR partner JournoLink.
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