Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is PR?
PR is third party endorsement.
It is the subtle art of getting someone ELSE to tell your target audience how marvellous you, or your products or services are, so that you do not have to boast.
Which third party you use in your PR campaigns depends on who your target audience is, and who their influences are. It may be the media via journalists, or it may be bloggers and social media influencers, or charities and other organisations whose opinions are respected by your target audience.
PR is the most powerful tool for building the ‘know, like and trust’ that your customers need.
The Public Relations Standards Authority describes PR as: “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organisations and their publics. At its core, public relations is about influencing, engaging and building a relationship with key stakeholders across a myriad of platforms in order to shape and frame the public perception of an organisation.”
How is PR different from marketing?
Marketing in its broadest sense identifies the target market open brackets or customer close brackets, defines the product or service they need, sets the selling price and then, critically, communicates important messages to keep people.
PR is an essential part of the marketing communications process and, we believe, is the most cost effective way to deliver your message to the right people. It is a powerful part of a wider marketing communication strategy or campaign.
What do PR consultants do for clients?
They help you:
- define your marketing and PR strategies and objectives
- develop your marketing and PR activity plan
- Plan an implement your PR campaigns
- Create stories and content – proactively and reactively according to what is happening in the news in your market
- Place stories using appropriate media (traditional on and offline print, digital / social, radio and TV, influencers and bloggers)
- Define the organisations you should be aligning yourself with to maximise your opportunities for good third party endorsement
- Develop and implement campaigns to maximise sponsorship opportunities and event appearances
Why should I allocate budget to PR as opposed to or in addition to advertising?
Advertising is you paying to tell people how great you are. That space is now saturated and largely ignored.
PR is placing stories which give third party endorsement to your brand, product or service, that consumers want to see or hear and will believe in.
Most advertising has its place, PR is a much more cost effective way of delivering critical messages to keep people.
As you pay for your advertisement space you, you can say whatever you want in it, and know that it will appear exactly as you have requested.
With PR, no money changes hands between you and the journalist, or other third party endorser you are using. PR relies on building a good relationship with the third party you are asking to communicate your message, and allowing them to report it as they like.
Its value is widely held to be 500 times more than an advertisement because of this.
Combining the two results in your target audience perceiving you, your brand and services to be ‘seen everywhere’ and therefore increasing your credibility.
Do press releases really work?
Every story, idea, or comment on a news item should be written in a press release format. This makes it easier for the journalist to either use it as it is, or work from it to create their own story.
Random press releases that have no news hook or are clearly just an advertisement in disguise have never worked, and will have the adverse effect with the media – they will not want to work with you!
However, a press release that presents a well thought out PR campaign will generate interest, create online traffic, and pique interest in the company or business in general.
Can a PR consultant guarantee media coverage?
No, but using one can significantly improve your chances of relevant stories being placed where they will have most impact!
Whilst a PR consultant will make every effort to achieve your desired publicity results, the end result of the work is beyond their direct control. Therefore, it is not possible to guarantee that a particular media release will be used by a media outlet, that any use of the press release will conform to the wording provided, or that media coverage will deliver sales results.
Is digital marketing and social media part of PR and should I be doing these too? Can PR consultants help with this?
Yes, yes and yes!
Digital marketing and social media are communications channels, like traditional media, they are very widely used throughout the UK and the rest of the world. They are an essential part of PR, as your customers will be on these platforms, so you should be using them to communicate your messages to your target audience.
Is PR only for big businesses or is it just as valuable for new or small businesses?
PR is the only way to build your profile and credibility with your target audience and therefore works just as well for small businesses as large corporations.
The fact that it is free means it is even more essential for a small business with tight marketing budgets.
PR is a staple part of any business that wants to survive and grow. The benefits are as great for an organisation like Tesco as they are for the local corner shop. Generating goodwill and a positive attitude of vital for any business.
How can you measure a return on PR investment (ROI)?
Measuring the ROI of PR has always been difficult as you are not dealing with hard numbers. The success of a PR campaign is an increase in the awareness, and positive perception of your brand/product or service for your target audience, which will help to lead to ‘warmer’ leads and an increase in sales, if undertaken as part of a strategic marketing and communications strategy.
Before you start your PR campaigns you need to agree with your consultant how you are going to measure their success.
There are a number of ways that the success of a PR campaign can be measured:
- By the amount of coverage you have received in the media (on and offline print, radio and TV) that your target audience reads/watches/listens to. One piece of coverage in the major national newspaper that your target audience reads regularly will be worth way more than lots of coverage in unknown websites and random media.
- By the reach and value of each piece of media coverage. The reach refers to the number of readers/viewers/listeners of that particular media, and the value is calculated by the size of the coverage multiplied by the cost if it had been an advertisement in that media.
- By assessing the content of the media in which you received the coverage dash how positive was it in relation to your brand, did it include your key messages and did it increase the overall perception of your business?
- By measuring the amount of traffic to your website before and after launching your PR campaign.
- By asking all new customers how they heard about your brand/service/product.
- By undertaking market research before and after the campaigns to assess the increase in awareness of your product/brand/service.
- By measuring the increase in followers, likes and mentions on social media before and after the campaigns.
Do I need a crisis PR plan?
Every business needs to be prepared for a crisis before it happens. A crisis could be anything: a data breach, product recall, fire, fatality at work, negative review, a failed or cancelled event, or a badly planned or researched marketing campaign.
And when it does happen the news will travel very quickly. That’s why you need a good plan and a professional team advising and supporting you.
What will it cost me to work with a PR agency?
Every PR agency is different.
Prices vary depending on the level of support required, the specialist sector knowledge and Contacts you need, and the type of agency you want to work with .
For example, at marvellous PR we offer different levels of service according to clients budgets, from one day courses and peer mentoring where we help and guide you through doing it all yourself, to a full service, paid on a retainer. And with specialist expertise and Contacts are in property and developing the individual profiles of entrepreneurs and business owners in the management/ Business Media.
PR agencies may charge an hourly on an hourly basis or a daily rate, and may have different rates for various levels of expertise in the team, and/ or for different types of work. They will probably have a minimum term of contract so that they can make sure they have time to gather the relevant information About you, your marketing customers, and then generate interest and engagement on your behalf with your target media. They will also have various ways of charging for any external suppliers they are using on your behalf.
The answer is you need to check with each individual agency.
What is PR retainer and how does it work?
PR retainers are a monthly fee, agreed with you, that ensure you receive a consistent service for a fixed fee. This is helpful for your budgeting as you can be assured you will not be charged anything more each month unless it has been discussed and agreed with you.
Most agencies will agree the monthly fee with you based on your requirements, prepare a contract for you, based on the objectives and plans discussed at your initial meeting and commence work once that is signed. These contracts are usually between 6 and 12 months long.
How closely do we need to work with our PR consultant?
PR consultants cannot do their job without close collaboration with their clients. At the start they will need detailed information from you to help them understand your organisation, the particular project you want them to PR and your goals. As your partnership continues, they will need to work closely with you to stay up to date with what’s happening in your organisation, your industry, and to get feedback and approvals from you.
The best client relationships occur when clients treat their PR consultant as part of their team, keeping them in the loop, including them in important update meetings, responding promptly to correspondence and opportunities, and flagging any ideas or upcoming issues with them well ahead of time.
Why would I choose to work with Marvellous PR rather than other PR companies?
Don’t ask us – listen to our clients! This is what they have said about working with us: Testimonials
What happens next? Can I arrange an informal chat to see if Marvellous PR is the right fit for me?
We would love to meet you with no obligation.
This can either be face to face, by video conference or by a simple phone call.
Why can’t I just pay you on a results-based plan or for an ad hoc press release?
As a professional services discipline you are buying the consultants time, expertise, ideas and access to their Contacts. Therefore, reputable PR agencies require you to pay for the time consultants spend working on your account or for the delivery of a set scope of work.
Some agencies may be happy to work on a results basis but most will not. The PR consultant will need to spend time understanding your business, your tone of voice, brand personality and type of customers so that they can create the best strategy for you. Successful campaigns are not based on individual press releases, but on ideas, creativity, and ongoing engagement with your target media .
It is therefore difficult to undertake ad hoc work, and very hard to agree on a fee structure for a results-based plan.