Teaching the Tricks of The PR and Marketing Trade

As an agency we’re always keen to share our knowledge of PR, marketing and digital tech to help other businesses that don’t have the know-how to promote themselves effectively. This year so far we’ve delivered workshops on a range of topics from writing news releases to digital marketing on behalf of the University of Lincoln and the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce. We’ve also delivered media training for clients using our experience as former print and broadcast journalists to demonstrate the importance of good media relations and how to give interviews with confidence.

There are a lot of brilliant businesses out there, including start-ups who can’t yet afford to invest a lot of money in marketing. This is a bit of a catch-22 situation as without a constant pipeline of new customers, businesses are doomed to failure, but if people don’t know they exist how can they buy from them? This is one of the reasons why the Shooting Star team, me included, love helping other people receive the recognition they deserve. We’re passionate about what we do and want to share the many benefits of PR and marketing with other businesses who may not realise the importance of constantly banging the drum about what you do and importantly, why you do it.

Talking about the ‘why’

There are probably lots of people who do what you do, but why you do what you do – the reason you get out of bed in the morning – can be a real differentiator. It could even become your strapline! For example, Nike’s simple, yet effective message, “Just Do It”, comes from the idea that anyone can be an athlete; they manufacture sportswear, but their aim is to encourage more people to take part in sport.

Demonstrating value

It’s fair to say that the people who came to our training courses already understood the value of PR and marketing; that’s why they were there – to learn how to use it for the benefit of their business. However, in a recent survey of over 300 senior professionals by Releasd, a business that provides a tool for creating PR activity reports, over a third of execs admitted that they did not have a good understanding of what the PR function does within their business. Of the execs who responded that they had a good understanding of comms, a vast majority (80%) also thought it delivered good value to the business. Conversely, only 8% of respondents who did not have a good understanding of comms said that they thought it provided good value. From these results it’s clear that as an industry we still have a lot of work to do in educating people what the benefits are. This is a lot easier with something like digital marketing, where you can monitor clicks and engagement rates, than with PR. Unfortunately, measuring intangible benefits such as sentiment and awareness is quite hard and expensive to do. With that in mind, in order to truly demonstrate value, we first need to demonstrate how PR works, which is another reason why we’re so keen to share our know-how.

The marketing funnel

One thing that we stress to people who come to our courses is that digital PR is just PR. In today’s technology-driven world all PR should incorporate digital and there’s no magic wand. Social media, like everything else, has its place but it is a means to an end and not an end in itself. By that I mean it works best as part of an overall PR and marketing strategy. You still need to do the mass reach, mass awareness-type activity to help attract new customers and move the so-called ‘marketing funnel’ towards making a purchase from you.

Want to learn more? Then look out for one of our talks or training courses on our website and of course you can read other articles on our blog like this one about search engine optimisation by our Digital Marketer Sam Clarke. Happy reading!