Public Relations – are you waiting on the sideline or ready to play?

February 2, 2017

By: Phoebe Yong.

It’s the age old question I hear time and again from potential clients – When am I ready to initiate PR?
Magnolia MarCom Minute: "PR – are you waiting on the sideline or ready to play?" Banner
Today’s PR world is even more hectic and demanding than ever before. We’re going through a digital transformation just like everyone else! So, before taking PR into your organization, ask if it’s right for you. Consider these top five questions to ask yourself before you get started:

1. Do You Really Need PR?

I’ve been asked for PR proposals more times than I can count. But often enough, when it’s on the table, clients realize they have other priorities. So, before all else, you must define your need for PR and consider the other priorities that may be in your queue, such as sales, funding and product development. In my experience, there are two main drivers for initiating PR – the Best Kept Secret Syndrome when it’s time to tell the world what makes you so great and different, or an upcoming major news announcement you want to leverage to get ink and awareness. Either way, it’s only with this need established that your PR push can begin.

2. Are You Ready to Commit?

PR is not a one-time play. It’s a strategic program you have to commit to if you want to see real results. I like to see it like weight loss. If you go on a crash diet, you’ll likely lose pounds. But the second you stop dieting, that weight piles back on. It’s the same with PR. You can make a big one-time splash but if you put no more effort into outreach after that you and your product will quickly be forgotten. People need repetition to remember in this crazy, noisy world we live in.

3. Do You Have the Budget & Resources?

Your PR program won’t get off the ground unless you have the budget and resources to make it happen. Whether hiring someone in-house or working with an agency, you’ll need to commit the staff and money to outreach – pitching, follow up, media relations, press release development and so much more. Without it, your program is going nowhere.

4. Do You Know What Makes You Different?

Strong, consistent and, most importantly, relevant messaging is the key to a successful PR program. You must be ready to position yourself to stand out from your competition. Ask yourself what makes my company different? It can be a spokesperson with fresh, thought-provoking commentary or a product that does something new. But defining this differentiator is step one to PR success.

5. Is Your Infrastructure in Place?

It doesn’t matter if you have the best PR program in the world. If you don’t have the powerful website and compelling collateral to direct new prospects to, the brand awareness your outreach creates will mean nothing. Before initiating any push, make sure the rest of your marketing is on point and ready to generate leads.

Once you’ve evaluated these questions diligently and honestly, you’ll be in a better position to decide if PR has a strategic place in your organization to help influence thought leadership discussion in your industry and be an integral part of your corporate strategy.

Until then, it’s best to wait on the sideline until you have time to invest in PR.