Most companies have the same end goal in mind: sales. So, as brands identify a need for public relations, it’s important to set realistic expectations for exactly what PR can do for your business and where it falls into your marketing plan, also known as the sales funnel.
What PR Does
PR, specifically media relations, is not a golden ticket for overnight sales or a faucet of leads that’s instantly turned on the day you hire an agency, but it does serve an integral role in the overall sales funnel. PR impacts the top of the funnel most, in the awareness and interest phases, and that is where its effectiveness should be measured.
The awareness phase of the sales funnel speaks for itself and is PR’s biggest play. This is the initial touch point and where PR can make a target audience aware of a brand using long-form content such as bylined articles, blogs and lists that present industry-wide challenges. Bylined articles and company mentions featured on reputable trade and national media show potential customers a company’s expertise in a business area and prevalence in the market at large, helping to bolster awareness.
While PR’s strongest impact is top of funnel, it can sometimes help in the final stages of the sales process as well. Prospects that make it to the fourth stage, decision, are generally referred to as leads and must be nurtured in order to make it to the final stage – purchase. This is where case studies, testimonials and product coverage, the most difficult placement to obtain, come into play because as readers move closer to a purchase decision, this type of content allows them to weigh pros and cons and envision how a company’s solution can help their brand.
What PR Doesn’t Do
Now for the bad news – as we’ve said before, PR does not equal sales. Giving a campaign only 30 to 60 days before evaluating its effectiveness won’t yield the results your company is looking to achieve, especially if the only measure of PR’s success is sales and absolutely if PR is your only lead generator.
Valuable content plays an integral role in the sales funnel, and media coverage is a big part of that. But your first placement in the perfect industry trade publication isn’t going to instantly have prospects beating down your online door. That kind of result can take years of consistent, targeted media coverage, and a healthy mix of other online marketing efforts, to develop the level of recognition that creates loyal brand advocates.
With the proliferation of online media and the segmented audiences that has produced, media placements alone don’t hold the value they once did. Companies have to amplify earned and owned PR messages to create the desired outcome of brand awareness because even the best content won’t produce an outcome without an audience.
The reality is – if you’re only focused on media relations for online marketing efforts, it’s doubtful you’ll see a direct correlation with sales. Without nurturing prospects and helping them along the sales funnel, your marketing plan doesn’t have follow through necessary to be successful.
- Why Media Coverage Doesn’t Equal Sales - March 26, 2015
- Four Metrics to Track During Your Next Virtual Press Event - November 3, 2014
- Top-Tier Coverage for BLASTmedia Clients - August 21, 2014
- Getting your content into shape this summer - June 18, 2014
- Tools of the Trade: New Updates for PR Pros - May 5, 2014