What should you know about working with a PR and marketing communications firm?

What does a marketing communications / PR firm do?

A marketing and PR firm helps you define and refine your brand presentation to align with your company DNA and position in the marketplace. We work with you to ensure that your marketing aligns with and supports your business goals.

From there, we help you refine your key messages and presentation of them so that they help increase awareness, pull your ideal customers to you and support every aspect of your brand.

We design marketing materials such as flyers, brochures, social media messaging materials, blog content, website content). We also recommend appropriate channels in which to communicate. These channels can be Owned (your website, your social media channels and blog); Earned (media mentions, earned media, shared and comments on posts on social and on your website); Paid (paid social media advertising, print advertising, digital advertising such as pay per click, etc.) 

When should I work with a marketing communications / PR firm?

You should work with a marketing communications and PR firm when your efforts to market your company, services and present yourself to the world are not achieving the goals you expect. 

If your business is growing and your time is limited or you know that your marketing is not hitting the mark, it’s time to consult a professional. 

If you feel you do not know what to do to market your company, you may wish to consider working with a marketing consultant. 

Many entrepreneurs can work on their own to promote their businesses. In fact, many entrepreneurs enjoy the challenges of marketing their services. However, even these very involved individuals may need some mentoring and support to be certain their marketing goals align with their wishes. In such cases, a professional may be the perfect individual to guide you, allowing you to do the actual implementation.

What are the best ways to increase awareness of my business?

There is no one best way to increase awareness of your business. Methods used to promote it are determined based on your customers and their needs. 

When working with a professional to figure out the best ways to market your business, you can expect to answer a lot of questions to help us understand your product, services and when and how people need and use them. Only after we have these insights can we properly provide guidance.

Amanda Milligan of Fractl, authored a blog post for MOZ on the topic of marketing tactics and wrote,

“It’s critical to analyze the attitudes and behaviors of your current and potential clients/customers in order to best communicate with them in the methods they prefer.”

Fractl’s survey, which is cited in her article, notes that for most business leaders, being found in search results is critical to success.

Graph from Fractl on the most effective way to attract business
Image Credit: Fractl graph from MOZ blog post.

She also noted that very few tactics die out. We’re always hearing about the end of some (formerly highly utilized) ad type which is at risk for imminent death. The truth is that there are fads and phases in advertising, marketing and PR. 

Today’s influencers are yesterday’s local celebs. Instagram TV is today’s version of local access TV. 

However, with this being true, there are some ways of getting out in front of your potential customers that are better received than others. One of these which showed up as better liked is blogging.

Sentiment around Marketing tactics
Image Credit: Fractl via Moz blog post

We also learned from the Fractl survey that most people who seek new products or services utilize the Internet to find or identify what they need.

Given these findings, making certain that your company ranks well and shows up is critical. In order to make this happen, a carefully crafted content plan and tactical strategy is required as is ongoing commitment to publicizing your existing content.

If you need assistance identifying your potential customers, or how to gain awareness or increase your potential customers, get a complimentary marketing analysis. We would be pleased to offer you an initial conversation at no cost.

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PR not always about your products, events

Note: This article originally appeared on our blog in 2009. We have updated it and re-published it.

Companies that care about their communities and strive to become integral in them gain positive feelings and more engaged employees. They also cultivate a more positive brand.

In an article in Entrepreneur Syed Balkhi writes, “Letting consumers see the people behind the business is a powerful way to humanize your brand. If consumers are looking at just your logo all the time, they might not see your brand as human. So, put your team members in the spotlight.”

Additionally, according to Entrepreneur, “numerous studies show that the higher a company’s CSR score (the more it is committed to volunteerism), the more pride employees have in their organization — and in their job — and the happier and more satisfied they are with their job and company.” Such positive feelings are important to individual and company perceptions.

Go beyond earned media

Many people fall into the mindset that PR is only about gaining earned media placement for a company’s products or news and events. Public relations go so far beyond simply getting an outlet to carry your news. The best PR tells a story. It intrigues. It inspires. It elevates.

There is other side of publicity sharing information about your leaders and staff to humanize your company.

Create depth and dimension with unique stories

As an example, a local video production company has a photographer who is interested in documenting a small social business which is taking medical supplies to Ghana. Supporting the project and assisting her in obtaining donations, or shipping them or storing them demonstrates a real commitment to a cause created by the team member. Sharing information about the photographer’s search for funding and the skills that he will use to document the project can support the cause and expand the image of the company in the minds of consumers.

I’m not suggesting that you exploit your staff or their good works, but that you seek opportunities to offer information that really opens up what people think of your team and your firm. Being in business means being a part of a larger community. Demonstrating how you and your associates do that gives depth to your individual and personal brands as well as lifts the perception of your firm.

Gaining earned media is more than just telling us that you’ve just hired a new Director of Marketing. Give your staff opportunity to volunteer and be involved. Identify causes the company wishes to support. Then go out and do good works.

We are all more than just our titles and functions. We are the people who make up the company, not the human resources. So, share the interesting information about those who are the life of the company.

Photo credit: Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

PR Important Dates and Holidays

This article originally appeared on our blog in 2008. We’ve updated it with the information and examples of how you can use holidays, national observance days and more in your marketing and PR strategy.

Keep up with annual holidays which may impact plans for your company’s public relations and marketing.

Annual holidays and observances are natural PR hooks

PR pros plan our client’s calendars, social media strategy and other activities around holidays and important remembrance events. We also utilize important anniversaries as hooks for our client’s PR messaging. Contests and promotions can be built around holidays and observances. Read our article on contests and promotions

For years there have been Labor Day sales, Columbus Day sales and other types of promotional events tied to government holidays. When many people are off work they look for activity and shopping has always been something people do when they have a block of time. Though with the advent of online shopping’s explosion, new holidays like Prime Day have been concocted to drive online shopping into targeted channels.

American Express® defined Small Business Saturday to encourage and recognize the predominant form of US business — small businesses — and the resulting adoption of this single day has driven many campaigns across the United States.

Don’t overlook significant corporate anniversaries

If your business has been operating for a long time, say 100 years, and you’re coming up on that significant anniversary (or even 50 years) developing a pitch for the media or sending a media release about how the firm has reached this unusual mark could potentially land you some really cool mentions.

Using this same example, you could build an entire month of social media strategy around the number 100, recognizing your best 100 clients; or giving prizes to 100 customers across the course of the month. Brainstorm with your team to develop ideas on how to recognize and honor those that helped achieve longevity in business.

Here’s a link to the calendar of American Holidays as recognized by the US government, but these are only the ones recognized by government. 

Wacky holidays, national observances can used in your marketing

For example, July is national ice cream month. When planning your social media calendar or your marketing plan for the month, you can use this as well as other unusual observances in your content strategy. Find a way to tie them in with promotions and ads to piggyback on buzz which is being created across social media related to the observance. Don’t forget to use the official hashtags in your posts.

Time and Date provides a very long list of all kinds of unusual holidays. BrownieLocks.com has been around a long time and I’ve referred to their list for years. 

You will also want to check your local events and holidays as well. Is there a significant date in the history of your town? Or how about an important event that is associated with your town?

In the Charleston area in August, many people remember the anniversary of Hurricane Hugo. That tragic storm gets people talking: about hurricane preparedness, the storm’s impact on their lives and structural soundness of buildings and much more. If you’re a home builder or building supplies provider, you could build a very informative educational campaign around the lessons learned about being prepared by interviewing locals, getting insights into what’s different in the building codes and more that could be used in blog posts, social media activity and in-store promotions.

Using Google My Business you can keep the public informed about your openings and closures around legal holidays such as New Years Day, Memorial Day and all the legally recognized holidays. Google My Business even prompts you to update your hours in the weeks prior to an important holiday. 

Let your messages be informed by date driven PR

With creativity you can have fun and grow your business and even gain some new media attention.

Need assistance planning your marketing strategy to tie in with holidays? Give us a call at 843.628.6434 or use our contact form to get in touch.

Photo by Tobias Zils on Unsplash