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10 ways to get more bang for your PR buck

PR is often seen as a marketing luxury for bigger companies but there are many smaller PR agencies in Australia that can make PR an affordable marketing activity for small or fledgling businesses.

PR, if done well, is the most cost effective form of marketing you’ll ever do. You can reach a large number of stakeholders, differentiate your business from the competition and gain credibility in a competitive market.

Australia may have come out of the GFC largely unscathed compared to the U.S. and Europe but the latest unemployment figures show Australia is in for a tough ride in 2013.

The economic downturn however presents your business with an opportunity. Chances are your competitors are cutting their marketing or PR, so it’s time for you to grab that market share and make your voice heard.

We’re all consumers and we still need to buy goods and services, so if we don’t know your company exists how are we going to buy from you?

Once you’ve decided to ahead and engage a PR agency or consultant, here are 10 things you should consider to get the most bang for your buck:

1. Have you got something interesting to say? Be honest. If you haven’t you could save yourself and the PR agency valuable time and money. Is your business growing quickly? Do you work with companies that will engage in a case study? Do you work in an interesting industry? Are you an entrepreneur with an interesting back story? You need a little something extra to stand out from the crowd.

2. Be opinionated. Have you got views on what is going on in your industry? It makes it so much easier if a client has actually got an opinion so you can react quickly to journalist’s articles or talkback programs on the radio for example.

3. Give it time. Monthly magazines have long lead times. What you might submit for a feature in January may not actually come out until March, so give it at least six months if you can.

4. Be targeted. If budget is tight, brief your PR agency to target one industry sector at a time for example or a few key business publications. Perhaps there is a particular magazine in your industry you think is widely respected that you would like your business to be in?

5. Listen. It’s not all about media releases and case studies. There are so many other PR tactics to influence your audiences from roundtable events, to blogging and opinion pieces, so look to your PR agency for ideas and embrace them.

6. Set key PR objectives. What do you want your PR campaign to deliver? Ensure your PR objectives are tied into your business objectives and agree these at the start.

7. Evaluate. PR often gets the ‘thin end of the wedge’ when it comes to marketing budgets because it’s more difficult to measure. Ask your PR agency to evaluate your campaign at regular intervals if possible to see if you’re on the right track and getting value for money.

8. Invest your time. PR isn’t something you can ‘go away and do’. To represent you and your business, your PR consultant is going to need to know the relevant information. You’ll need to invest more time at the beginning of a campaign but after that, they should be able to draft media releases and other media materials quickly and talk knowledgeably to journalists about your business. You will only get out of a PR program what you put in.

9. Decide on your messages and stick to them. How are you different? A good PR agency will be able to help you do this, but you need these to get the best out of your media interviews and materials.

10. Use your media coverage. What’s the point of it being stuck in a folder? It’s so valuable and you’ve invested time and money in getting it, so get permission to put it on your website, use it in your sales pitches and send it to your existing customers or prospects.

If you’re realistic about what you want to achieve through working with a smaller PR agency and are prepared to commit the resources, use the economic downturn to your advantage and gain significant profile for you and your business.

Jocelyn Hunter

Jocelyn Hunter

Jocelyn is the managing director of BENCH PR, a public relations agency that specialises in the business to business and technology markets.

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