Does PR still matter in the age of bloggers and social influencers? Very much so. New companies are raking up thousands of media mentions per month, and you don’t have to be big to get noticed. Here are four reasons you should make PR your everyday process.
1. It’s one of the most cost-effective tools for boosting your brand.
It’s essential to understand the difference between PR and advertising. Advertising is “paid media,” and you get noticed by buying ad space, while PR is “earned media,” and you get publications by sending press releases and pitching your story to the media. “Depending on how you measure and monitor, an article is between 10 times and 100 times more valuable than an advertisement,” says Michael Levine, author of Guerrilla PR. According to a study from Nielsen, the role of press articles in the decision-making process is 88% more effective than advertising.
An article is between 10 times and 100 times more valuable than an advertisementMichael Levine
2. Journalists are superconnectors
Journalists are well-connected between each other, in their industry, and with the companies they cover. A big part of their job is to attend various events, interview high-profile speakers, and search for insider information. Be valuable to them by providing your expertise, ideas, and data, and they repay you with coverage and introductions. It’s a good idea to send them links from time to time, as well as invite them for drinks when you are in town. Beware: quantity isn’t quality. It’s better to have a few deep relationships, rather than a lot of shallow ones. For more on compounding relationships, check out AngelList’s Naval Ravikant blog.
3. You will become an expert
If you’re already an expert in your field, you will be valuable to press, and they will want to include your opinion in their publication. But it works both ways. If you manage to get some press with your name and title, it will make it easier to get invited to speak at industry events and join some high-profile organizations. This is how a lot of PR agencies “groom” their clients to get invited to TV talk shows. Boost your expert image by doing free talks and workshops, participating in the trade organizations and communities, and writing a blog on your subject.
4. You can do it all by yourself
Want to know the best part? PR isn’t rocket science, even if expensive New York and Los Angeles PR firms want you to believe otherwise. There’s only one essential skill you will need to master: pitching. If you are good at pitching and bad at everything else, you will still get covered. Nothing is more critical to the success in PR than a clear and concise story pitch. Forget about press releases. Locate 10-20 journalists that cover your field, find out what they like, and email them a short, 250-word personalized message. With practice, this will become natural, and you will be raking coverage in no time. For more on pitching, check out “This is How You Pitch” by Ed Zitron.