Aug 2023

PR and Taking the Road Less Stupid

Written by Stevie Harding

PR and Taking the Road Less Stupid

A good public relations team is a form of insurance for your business.

Growing as a business is as much about doing everything right as it is about doing nothing horrendously wrong. Keith Cunningham covers this in The Road Less Stupid. A large part of success revolves around avoiding classic blunders. The list of companies that, after years of profit, crashed and burned after one scandal is beyond the scope of this article. A good PR team can help you land the plane before it nosedives into the ground. As well as shielding negative publicity PR amplifies a businesses success when it is doing everything right.

Having a great product with slick marketing is only going to get you so far. It’s unlikely that a business is offering something completely novel, we live in a world of refinement, and therefore you need to separate yourself from competitors. How many adverts can you remember liking but the name of the company doesn’t come to mind with the recollection. Part of branding is creating a story that fixes the brand and their products in the mind. Getting in the news helps customers integrate something into their schemas. It’s easier to tell your story when you have a professional journalist writing it for you.

If you have a relevant offering and happy customers, PR becomes one of the most cost effective forms of marketing. Not only is the main cost in labour, the client has the added benefit of not having to present their message in an advertisement

Customers are increasingly adept at filtering out marketing material, when you gain traction in the news you invert the normal marketing challenge of attracting attention because your message is delivered to an interested audience that has actively sought out more information on the sector your company works in. You might be thinking, why roll the dice on a PR team that might secure coverage when most industry press charges a flat rate per article?

The problem with sponsored content

As transparency around sponsored content becomes more important to consumers, generating real thought leadership is harder than ever. Paid articles have a disclaimer letting a reader know you didn’t earn your coverage. Paying your way to the top is nothing new but as we’ve seen with Twitter/X charging for verification, purchased authority is no authority at all. In fact, it can cast doubt on any organic coverage you did earn. Organic voice has always been a cut above any paid form of promotion.

People crave truth and will prioritise a less comprehensive review by someone that they feel has no ulterior motive over an objectively better review by a faceless publication. This is why the most common search term on google is reddit, people want to see raw unfiltered opinions and make their own judgements. As astroturfing online makes it harder and harder to sort real opinions from paid, the average person is reverting back to trusted publications to sort the wheat from the chaff, even if the most trusted publications have changed. 

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