Clever marketing professionals increase their spend on PR during a recession to keep their companies in the limelight and ahead of their competitors. As a PR veteran of 30 years and a survivor of two recessions, in this article I explain the top reasons why PR is the key to winning your way out of a downturn, whilst you watch your competition fall to the wayside.
Point One – Thought-leadership
You want to be the one quoted in all the stories being written in your space – this way you’ll be top of mind as the thought leader when customers start looking for new solutions, services and products. There’s nothing better than being quoted in a leading newspaper like The Times, Wall Street Journal or even the Mail Online which reaches hundreds of millions of people everyday! No amount of advertising will ever earn you the credibility a quote gets you in a prestigious publication.
Point Two – Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
PR is essential for SEO so when a prospective client is searching for a product category and you’ve been appearing in the press your company name will be one of the first to be found as they search for you online. The more coverage you get, the higher you’ll be on the search engines.
Point Three – The sales funnel
It takes on average about 10 touch points before you turn a prospect into a customer. So from a sales perspective, you need to have an excuse to ‘touch’ your prospects; and what better than a piece of great quality coverage in a national newspaper or respected journal where you’re being quoted. It’s not just you blowing the company’s own trumpet, but a valid point to add to the conversation in a respected publication.
Point Four – PR is far more cost effective than advertising
PR is very inexpensive compared to advertising, lead generation and direct marketing because when you pay a good PR agency say between $5k to $10k a month, they can get you 5-15 pieces of good quality press coverage. Whereas that same amount may only buy you one advert in a similar publication.
Point Five – Top of Mind
PR is measured by Share of Voice – or in old fashioned speak – being top of mind! So you need to ask yourself: are you getting more eyeballs and clicks than your competitors? You’ll only be up there if you’re doing PR – it’s a simple equation. And it’s human nature as a buyer to look for the most talked about, easy to find companies on the Internet – and PR gets you that!
Point Six – No Physical way to promote yourself
Sadly with the Coronavirus stopping all physical ways of getting in front of your customers and prospects, you now need to rely on being seen in the media more than ever. Plus, people are reading more than they ever have – so now is actually the time to increase your online presence, not decrease.
Point Seven – People buy from people
It’s not rocket science but we all buy from people we like and know. So, when you read about someone in the press and they look like they know their stuff and are experts in their space, you’re going to trust them more than the next company who has no personality or online persona.
Point Eight – We’re all in the business of education
Our job as marketeers and PR professionals is to educate people – the smarter you are at doing this the more successful you’ll be at drawing people in and winning their respect. People hate being sold to but do like being educated by smart people, from smart companies with smart products – that’s how Apple has succeeded.
Point Nine – Content, Content, Content
Content is King – the more good quality content you produce the more coverage you get and the more coverage you get, the more people will see you!
Point Ten – Are you still in business
With many companies going to the wall as they run out of funding in a crowded market, if you stop appearing in the media then prospects, customers and even your own employees might think that you have or are going out of business, executives in large companies often tell me that the most important criteria they have to judge a company is the quality of its brand and good media coverage is a key component of that, it is as good as money in the bank (literally).
So if you’re not yet convinced that PR is now very much an essential part of your survival kit during this downturn, then remember what those older wiser people always say: “out of sight is out of mind”. Can you afford to be?