Why Public Relations (PR) is Important for Marketers

In a digital world where literally anyone can be a “publisher,” I’m often asked why (or if) public relations (PR) is still important for marketers. My answer:

It definitely is!

In fact, used appropriately and efficiently, PR can be a great way for businesses of all sizes and types to gain exposure for their companies, their products and services, and their thought leaders.

Biggest Benefit of PR (IMO)

The biggest benefit of PR that I always stress to clients and students is that it reflects a third-party endorsement of your company and its products and services.

There are four ways that we are influenced as consumers when buying a product or service.

  1. Through our own experience. We try out a new restaurant and either like it or don’t.
  2. Through word-of-mouth (WOM) recommendations from friends, relatives, colleagues, etc.— they try out a new restaurant and tell us it’s great so we give it a try.
  3. By what others say about a product or service, specifically the media, or PR coverage. Whether it’s the local news, a trade journal or publication, or a blog, a non-biased third-party evaluation, or commentary on a product or service is more trusted than what companies say about themselves or their own products and services.
  4. Which is the fourth way we’re influenced—through advertising/marketing. While certainly effective it is not as effective as third-party endorsements.

So, in addition to ensuring that you have a great product or service that will lead to exceptional customer experiences and generate positive word-of-mouth, it’s also important to get coverage through third-party sources who share information that helps boost your brand.

This needs to be done strategically, though, to be most effective.

Strategic PR: Doing it Right

In my work, I’m involved in both seeking input from sources for articles or reports I’m working on, as well as offering input to reporters on behalf of Strategic Communications or our clients. When I’m on the receiving end of these pitches, the biggest mistake I see made is being too self-serving or self-promotional.

Yes, your purpose in seeking PR coverage is to gain exposure for your business and its products and services—exposure that will ultimately lead to sales.

But that’s not what reporters—or their readers/listeners/viewers—are interested in. You need to gear your response to their specific request and provide value. Or your pitch won’t be used. Sometimes (but rarely) your product or service may be part of the story. Most often, though, the recognition you gain will be through your expert advice and, hopefully, a link to your website.

But that’s enough. Over time, that exposure will contribute to your thought leadership, and, when those readers/listeners/viewers are in need of the type of products or services you provide, they’ll think of you.

Another common misstep—responding to queries that aren’t a good fit. While there aren’t out-of-pocket costs associated with seeking PR (unless you’re working with an agency or contractor), there is time involved. Not every pitch or outlet will be right for you; some may actually be potentially damaging to your brand. Choose wisely, and seek coverage primarily through outlets that target the audience you are trying to reach.

PR is important to marketers. But not all PR is equally important. Be strategic when seeking PR and focus on providing value, not promoting yourself. It will make a difference.


About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We work with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content. Whether on- or offline, or both, we’ll help you achieve desired results.

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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Recommended Reading:

21st Century Secrets to Effective PR

Managing Remote Staff

Direct Mail in the Digital Age

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Strategic Planning

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

Best Practices in Influencer Marketing

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