The strongest weapon in your marketing arsenal is PR. It has the ability to draw the most attention to your organization, advertise your product and introduce your company to unknown audiences. The main issue of PR is the wait. Once you start a PR program, you have a few months of ramp up time. This is the killer of most programs. People don’t like to wait for results. They want instant gratification. However, PR does not lend itself to instantaneous results. There needs to be time to ramp up the program, develop pitches, uncover stories of interest and more.
A few people start PR programs in order to “get their name out.” They have seen their competitors mentioned online and/or in publications. Now, they want in the game. The PR program starts with a lot of excitement and anticipation. The first month passes and slowly [or quickly] anxiety starts to build. The questions start coming: “What are we paying for? I don’t see us mentioned in any pubs? Where are the interviews? There was an article this week on our market, why weren’t we mentioned?” The PR person [whether in-house or agency] reviews the process. Publications, depending on schedules, run three months to a month ahead of the calendar. Everyone shakes their head that they understand. But the anxiety doesn’t go away and some will stop the entire PR program before any traction can be made.
The problem is that if they would have just waited a bit longer, the results could have been amazing. Here is a story from my past life: The company, a mid-tier ERP/CRM company focusing on the mid-market, was floundering in an over-saturated market and not hitting revenue goals. Budget was tight so we decided to put the money into a PR campaign. At first, we focused on industry publications within the space. We did a press and analyst tour—touting the new developments in the software and the company. We worked on building relationships with the editors of the publications. Slowly we began to see traction. We were being quoted in stories, contributing bylined articles and appearing in features. Then we turned our focus to business pubs. Same strategy, same results. Our name started appearing; our executives started being quoted in stories. We had editors on deadline seeking us out for quotes because they knew us and knew we could deliver. The inbound leads began to rise and we were closing a lot more deals. A few months later, we were at an industry trade show. I was walking the floor and was approached by several competitors. They said that they had been seeing us everywhere—and wondered if we had been bought by a major player. We were the talk of the show. The program continued and we began to hit revenue numbers. Like everyone else, the beginning was slow but we didn’t quit. We kept running with the program and soon it began to deliver amazing results.
You can have a similar story. You just need to stay focused and realize that PR takes time. But, it is certainly worth the wait.