by Ceri-Jane Hackling, Managing Director of Cerub Public Relations
Despite being an accepted marketing tool for decades now, PR is still misunderstood.
Often confused with advertising, people don’t really understand what a PR company does and how PR will benefit their business.
To put it in a nutshell, advertising is when you pay a publication to feature your product or service. PR is when a journalist is made aware of and chooses to feature your product or service in an editorial capacity.
There are obviously benefits to both. Advertising can be guaranteed – if you’re paying for space within a publication you know exactly what you’re getting and when. You also know exactly what’s going to appear since you wrote it!
On the other hand, if you pay £1,000 for a placement in a magazine or newspaper, you will get exactly what you pay for, no more, no less and let’s face it, when was the last time you bought a magazine to read the adverts?
PR on the other hand is a more complicated process, but we believe the benefits far outweigh those of advertising.
If you invest in PR your money will go a lot further. Your PR agency will identify the key titles you need to be seen in, and pitch your product or service to the editorial team in a way that will interest them. We read the media and find out where you need to be seen. Is it the health pages or fashion pages? Is it in the technology section or the homes pages? When we’ve done the research, we contact each of the publications to make them aware of your business, which can result in a lot more coverage. With the right approach, one product can be seen in countless publications rather than on just one page.
In addition, when readers see a product or service reviewed by a journalist, it instantly gives it credibility. People aren’t stupid, they know that when you place an advert they’re going to see the product at its best and it’s the company saying “look at this, this is great!”. When a journalist reviews a product positively however, they have no ulterior motive. They don’t get paid to write about a product in a good light, their job is to give their readers honest informative reviews.
Many companies worry that by approaching journalists with products they will receive negative reviews but most journalists are keen to inform their readers and aren’t out to be controversial.
As well as being a good way to promote products, PR can help position you as an expert in your field. By researching the issues which are affecting your industry, a PR agency can offer to submit comment, articles and contribute to features on your behalf, ghost writing articles which demonstrate your knowledge of the subject. The key to this is understanding the focus of each individual magazine and having interesting and relevant angles on topical subjects.
By understanding the media, a good PR company can ensure regular press coverage for your product or service and help to make you stand out from your competition.
Ceri-Jane Hackling is Managing Director of Cerub Public Relations (www.cerubpr.co.uk). Cerub PR was founded in 2003 to offer no-nonsense PR to ambitious, forward thinking companies. Working with companies across the UK, Cerub PR helps its clients stand out from their competition.
Please be advised that all views expressed in these posts are those of the author and not of James Rosa Associates ltd.