How Does PR Support Marketing & Advertising?

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Hiring a PR firm is one of the best and most cost-effective ways for brands to position their businesses strategically. Public relations can be very valuable when your business has a limited budget to advertise and publicize your products and/or services in the market.

In addition to being more affordable than conventional advertising, public relations agencies also offer numerous benefits, especially for new businesses. PR firms utilize strategies that complement an organization’s current marketing and advertising initiatives.

There are many pieces of the marketing pie. A few include: :

  • Advertising (Paid Media)

  • Content Marketing

  • Public Relations

  • Social Media

  • Digital

If you are looking to hire a communications agency to bolster your business, it is important to understand that PR is just one slice of the marketing pie and it can’t stand alone.

Boosts Brand Awareness

The main function of a PR agency is to generate awareness, distribute information quickly and communicate your key messages to the key audiences of a brand’s targeted demographic. Seeing your company or brand name published across trusted and credible news sources creates third party validation.

Take this PR tactic of gaining exposure and validation via earned media and apply it directly to your marketing and advertising strategies. What trade events, news outlets, industry publications and other online sources do your customers and prospects visit or attend? Concentrate your advertising and marketing efforts on those news sources as well as events that your audience relies on regularly.

A PR strategy also supports direct marketing and advertising initiatives, and can increase your website’s rank on Google so people can easily find your business.

Helps You Reach Your Target Audience

The main purpose of all marketing is to reach an audience for a specific reason. You can be a fashion brand looking to reach customers who will purchase your clothing or shoes, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looking to spread important information about vaccinations.

Regardless of the organization/brand, audience or message, public relations strategies provide multiple avenues for brands to communicate with their target audience.

Attracts Investors

Leveraging PR strategies can help attract investors to your brand. This is especially beneficial and important when a business is in its infancy.

A meticulously planned PR strategy can help generate positive media coverage, drive website traffic and create demand that gives you a better negotiating position with prospective investors. Also, well-executed PR campaigns help establish your brand which can lead to securing partnerships and funding.

Amplifies Your Message

Once you have developed your initial PR campaign and determined the messaging to use on your website such as paid advertising, social pages or content marketing, it is up to your public relations firm to amplify your message. Tools, such as Google Trends (https://trends.google.com/trends/?geo=US) , can help you track the progress you are making during outreach.

As stated earlier, public relations can not be the only marketing a brand does. PR only works when integrated within the Marketing Mix.


When Are You Ready to Hire a PR Firm?

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There is no doubt that public relations is an essential asset to every business. Public relations firms help manage the public perception of an organization. Today, PR is done through a variety of integrated paid, earned, shared and owned strategies..

Brands look to enhance, protect and/or develop their reputation using public relations. But how can your brand/organization determine if you are ready to hire a professional PR firm?

1. You need expertise and experience beyond your in-house team to reach your business goals

You are ready to hire a public relations firm if you have an effective business plan with meticulously identified goals for the year as well as a marketing plan. (Remember, PR is just one piece of the marketing pie.) It is common for a business to know where they would like to go but need some help getting there. Keep in mind that this applies to both new companies and established brands.

2. You know what distinguishes you from your competitors

What makes your business unique? While this might seem like a straightforward question, it could unearth many opportunities to distinguish your brand and business. Public relations professionals can help you considerably by homing in on the most important and compelling differentiators to determine the most suitable and newsworthy storylines from a media perspective.

3. You want to protect your brand

There is no denying that technological advances have completely changed how PR professionals do their job. Through the utilization of different social media platforms, your brand can gain more awareness than ever before. The downside to an increase in public awareness means your company may be subject to more scrutiny. Make sure to research public relations firms to see if they have experience with crisis management. Not only will this help you network, but it will help protect you and your business’s reputation.

4. You have the time to commit to a solid plan

Most PR firms work on a 12-month retainer. Why? A solid strategic PR plan does not happen overnight. PR takes time. If you just want to focus on scattered tactics you won’t get the results you desire. My favorite line is “PR is a marathon not a sprint.”

5. You have a budget

Just like payroll services or any other professional service you may outsource, you should have a designated communications budget before interviewing and eventually hiring a public relations firm. It’s understandable if you have not worked with a PR agency before and have no idea what it may cost. Ask.

Most PR firms bill on a 12-month retainer. This is a win-win for both you and the agency. There are no unexpected budget swings and it gives you you the dependability of a consistent strategic approach.

At TrizCom Public Relations, our sweet spot for the majority of our clients ranges from 30-60 dedicated hours per month. This equates to about $6000-$10,000 a month. Of course, we will never quote a retainer fee without knowing what your objectives are. But, we will almost always be able to give you a range.

Don’t be afraid of telling the prospective firm what your budget is. Most firms will build a proposal around your budget and if they can’t do the work for your budget, most will know of an individual or smaller firm that can.

For a free PR consultation, just give us a call at 972-247-1369 or visit us online at www.TrizCom.com.

What Can You Measure In PR?

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Whenever organizations run a PR campaign, they invest considerable time, money and effort. Therefore, it becomes essential to measure the success of the plan. Also, keep in mind that measuring the impact and effectiveness of a PR campaign helps organizations to identify what strategies are working and those that are not. Any aspect of the plan that is not working can be adjusted for improvement as well as help determine what direction to take for future campaigns. This is why PR firms regularly review reports on current strategies and campaigns with the brands they represent and make any adjustments as necessary.

Before technological advancements, it was often difficult to adequately or accurately quantify the return on PR investments, but those days are gone. Here are some metrics all brands should take into account while measuring the success and impact of their PR campaigns.

1. Media Placements

The primary role of a public relations firm is reaching out to the media to communicate an organization’s message effectively. Therefore, counting media placements is one of the best ways to measure the ROI. These numbers vary immensely depending on the outlet or publication due to their unique readership and website visitors, but know that media placements can be a substantial contingent on the outlet and number of placements overall. However, this metric can be deceiving when used as the sole measure of PR success. It is important to keep in mind the audience of each media placement to ensure that the organization’s message is reaching the appropriate audience.

2. Website Traffic

Another great way to measure the success of PR investments is through generated website traffic, which involves measuring the amount of traffic that the organization’s website receives both before and after the launch of their PR campaign. Keep in mind that when more individuals are exposed to a brand’s products and messaging, the more likely they are to trust them with a purchase. Sales leads usually come from calls-to-action (CTAs) that are listed on an organization’s website, so analyzing surges in website traffic may help answer whether a PR initiative is working or not.

3. Viral Impact

There is no denying that online media coverage extends to multiple social media networks, with many readers frequently sharing news updates, responses, reactions, retweets or post likes. There are many ways to measure reader reactions beyond just the number of mentions. Brands must also consider the number of influencers that mention their brand, the tone of voice on social media, as well as the sentiment of the message. Public relations agencies can help an organization determine where to look and highlight these important metrics.

4. Market Surveys

Public relations firms know that research is vital when it comes to tracking a PR campaign’s impact and success. So before launching a PR campaign, an organization should survey their markets to determine if they have heard about the brand and its offerings. After regularly following a comprehensive PR plan for a set amount of time, a second survey of the markets should be performed once again to determine whether awareness statistics are improving.

5. Cost Savings

PR campaigns might even result in considerable cost savings. For instance, it could produce fewer customer complaints, or declining opposition or criticism and aversion of a media crisis (that would damage a brand’s reputation and result in fewer sales, etc.).

PR vs. Marketing vs. Advertising

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The terms PR, marketing and advertising are often used interchangeably, although in actuality they are three different components of a brand’s communications strategies. For a brand’s communications plan to be effective, the messaging across all three channels must be complementary. To understand how to implement a comprehensive and effective communications plan, brands must first understand what the differences are between public relations, marketing and advertising, and how they can work together to drive business.

Public Relations

The main goal of public relations is fostering a positive reputation for a specific business and brand via strategic tactics. Public relations firms help organizations across different industries generate positive perceptions while counteracting any negative perceptions through an ongoing focus on reputation management and media relations. Public relations takes a brand’s story and amplifies it to the brand’s key audiences.

Marketing

The activities and set of processes that involve creating, communicating and delivering offerings have value for clients, customers and partners, as well as society at large. Put simply, you should think of marketing as a process instead of a singular activity. Marketing is a way of communicating your brand, services and products to convert leads into customers. It is how you generate more demand for your products to drive revenue ultimately. Marketing companies can help you devise strategies to market your product or services.

Advertising

Advertising entails promoting your products or services through paid means. You can think of advertising as a single activity rather than an entire strategy or process. Television ads, local radio commercials or ads in a magazine are the most recognizable products of advertising, but it has now extended to other mediums. Advertising is now found on social media within platforms like Facebook and Instagram, or advertising on blogs and streaming services like Pandora.

How They Are Different

A crucial difference between public relations, marketing and advertising is the main focus. PR emphasizes cultivating and fostering relationships between a company and key publics to manage the client’s image. In public relations, the primary goal is creating relationships.

Consider the complexity of any relationship in your life (sibling, best friend, parents, etc.) and the efforts that go into maintaining those connections — that is what public relations is all about. The work and time it takes to develop and maintain stable relationships are what set public relations apart from these other two institutions.

Marketing focuses on the promotion of services and products for revenue purposes. Marketing adds an additional element to this process by concentrating on a service or product from its inception through its purchase.

Finally, advertising is an important communication tool that is used by marketers to get customers to take action. When you watch an advertisement on TV, the ad alone is designed to get you to sign up or purchase a product. Also, the majority of ads you see day to day on TV are paid for while public relations focuses on obtaining earned media.

Support Dallas-Area Nonprofits on Prime Day!

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Amazon Prime Day is here – and predicted to shatter sales records for the fourth year in a row over the two-day event. For those of you living under a rock, Amazon Prime Day is a magical time of year when Amazon does their best Oprah impression and gives Prime members special discounts on featured items. Last year, estimated sales exceeded $4 billion globally during the 36-hour sale. But did you know that your shopping spree could also benefit a charity of your choice? When Prime members shop through AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to the individual's preferred charity. If every Prime member shopped with AmazonSmile in 2018, approved nonprofits would have received over $20 million in donations!

AmazonSmile donations are made at no extra cost to the customer, who can choose which organization to support from nearly 1 million public charitable organizations. The best part is that the shopping experience is not impacted at all – the only difference is, customers need to make their purchases on www.Amazonsmile.com instead of www.Amazon.com. Though 0.5% is not a very large amount for a donation, and it isn't intended to replace a customer’s regular charitable activities, AmazonSmile continues to be a great way to take advantage of a service customers are using anyway.

Several Dallas-area nonprofits are participating in Amazon Prime Day this year, encouraging shoppers to select a charitable cause during their shopping spree through AmazonSmile. From helping lift families out of poverty to supporting families battling pediatric cancer, finding forever homes for homeless animals or providing life-saving support to families in Guatemala, Dallas residents have the opportunity to make an impactful difference by shopping Prime Day through AmazonSmile.

By now, you’re probably asking yourself which Dallas nonprofits are participating this year and how you can get involved. No worries! Check out Dallas’ local nonprofit list below to find out more information and what kind of care they provide the Dallas community.

The Community Council of Greater Dallas

The Community Council was founded in 1940 and has identified services that are needed in the Dallas community. The services have been assessed on how best to be delivered to the community to meet social issues, and mobilizing and implementing action plans that work together with its member agencies and public sector resources. The issues often found by Community Council include juvenile delinquency and welfare, seniors, public health, day care and legislative advocacy. The organization meets these challenges through fact-based research, volunteers, creating and fostering new services and agencies, expanding government programs, convening collaborative work and delivering selected direct services.

To find more information about the Community Council, visit their website at https://www.ccadvance.org/.

Heroes for Children

Heroes for Children is a nonprofit that provides community support via social and financial assistance to Texas families with a child aged 0 to 22 battling pediatric cancer. Since the founding of the organization in 2004, the organization has given nearly $6 million to 6,000 families. They are the only organization in the state of Texas that also provides financial assistance for fertility preservation and funerals. The impact of childhood cancer is felt by the entire family and Heroes for Children provides additional social programs and events in the DFW, Houston, San Antonio and Austin areas that give children and their families the opportunity to participate in activities for the whole household. Heroes for Children ensures that no family fights pediatric cancer alone.

You can learn more about Heroes for Children by visiting https://heroesforchildren.org/.

Operation Kindness

Operation Kindness is the original and largest no-kill animal shelter in North Texas. Founded in 1976, the organization’s mission is to care for homeless animals until each is adopted into a responsible home. Since its founding and advocacy for humane values and behaviors, Operation Kindness has saved the lives of more than 105,000 animals. On average, the shelter cares for 400 animals daily and assists with more than 5,000 cats and dogs each year.

Not only is it an opportunity to check out some adorable pets up for adoption, but you can find out more about Operation Kindness by visiting https://www.operationkindness.org/.

HELPS International

Steve Miller, a Dallas-based investment banker and CEO of Dillon Gage, one of the world’s largest precious metals wholesale trading firms, accepted an invitation in 1981 that was extended to private groups by the Guatemalan government in an effort to bring aid to poverty-stricken areas. After witnessing the tremendous suffering in the region from a 36-year internal conflict, Miller began working with a missionary to bring food, clothing and blankets to the local community. He also assisted in building homes for widows of the war. His efforts eventually led to the founding of HELPS, which was registered as a nonprofit in 1984. HELPS is now a culmination of volunteers and donors who help the community by addressing the root cause of poverty in Guatemala. The four key areas of focus include agriculture, community development, education and health care.

To learn more about Steve Miller and HELPS International, check out their website at https://www.helpsintl.org/.

7 Questions You Need an Answer to Before Hiring a PR Firm

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Searching for the best communications firm is a lot like dating. Although there are plenty of fish in the sea, finding “the one” can be daunting. You want chemistry, competence, substance and experience – you need it all, and there is no need to settle for less.

Before you enter into a long-term relationship with a signed retainer contract, you should ask these seven questions to make sure you are swiping right on the best partner for your brand.

1. What Type of PR Firm Do We Want to Work With?

There are several different types of PR firms, such as big, local, boutique, global, traditional, specialized, integrated – the list goes on. So know what you really want before starting the process by researching the types and figuring out which PR agency might be the fit for you and your business based on the goals you want to accomplish with your PR strategies.

2. How Will We Measure Success?

The right answer to this is analytics. PR firms shouldn’t just build brand awareness – their successes should be able to be measured. You should only consider public relations agencies that offer to provide your team with reporting ranging from daily, weekly to monthly and quarterly reports for a comprehensive overview of how various media outlets are covering your brand and the industry.

3. Are We Compatible?

In the wildly-varied and changing world of the media, various approaches and perspectives exist. Make sure your vision aligns with that of your prospective PR firm.

4. What Will It Take to Make the Relationship Work?

As with any other relationship, a partnership between your brand and the public relations firm you hire will require work and effort from both companies. For example, you or members of your team will likely need to be available for meetings and managing internal approval processes. Be sure to understand what your level of involvement and commitment will need to be to ensure a successful relationship.

5. Will They Make It Facebook Official?

The PR firm you hire must be well versed in social media. You should know what the firm has done for its clients on platforms like Twitter and Facebook – and, more importantly, with what results? Results may vary in terms of outreach, but measurements with numbers will always be an important indicator to determine successful PR campaigns and brand recognition.

6. Are They Interested in Who We Are?

You definitely want to know that a communications agency has done its homework on you and the products and services offered by your brand. This should be evident during your exploratory meetings when they outline how they intend to accomplish your public relations goals. These meetings should also give you some sense of the firm and its team’s experience in your space. You want a team that is excited and passionate about your mission and brand – not just looking for a big paycheck.

7. What Is Our Budget?

Determining your financial budget early in the process can help you set a reasonable expectation for your company and the PR firms you speak with. Also, it will ensure that you receive an honest and customized pitch that is grounded in reality.

Why Invest in PR

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Many businesses decide not to invest in public relations due to a lack of understanding of what it can offer and the benefits it can provide. Although it can be a costly investment, a consistent, well-planned and thoughtfully executed public relationsplan is crucial for overall business success.

When things are going well, business leaders may consider public relations an unnecessary addition to their company. When the future looks financially cloudy, shortsighted organizations often make hasty decisions to slash expenses and cut public relations from the necessities. However, tech and media-savvy companies usually understand the importance of consistent media relationsdue to their close-knit connection to media. They understand that building relationships with their audiences and reporters strengthen their standing within the community.

Furthermore, ongoing media campaigns deliver multiple returns on every dollar spent via exposure and access to larger audiences. Public relations firms can help you maximize costs and save money.

Here are some additional reasons why PR is a great investment.

1. Builds More Trust Within Your Brand

PR-related media coverage results in journalists highlighting and discussing your brand in news reports, articles and/or radio bulletins as a credible and independent endorsement. Due to this media being earned, not paid for, it immediately helps build trust between the public and your brand. Unlike conventional advertising, which is usually a one-way dialog between the brand and its customers, public relations initiatives are built around developing and nurturing two-way relationships. PR agencies can develop communications strategiesand relevant campaigns that resonate with your target audience.

2. Recruits Great Talent

Often times PR campaignsdo not just attract new clients, but also prospective employees. It is worth noting that public relations strategiesthat establish your business or brand as a thought-leader would inevitably enhance your profile among the best talent in your field. With PR, you have the ability to create a reputation as one of the most sought-after employers in your industry – and then you can leverage your newfound success to the finest and most qualified talent to accelerate your growth.

3. Enhances Your Company’s SEO

We all know that online earned media could have a significant impact on SEO as well as keyword rankings. Public relations agencies work to optimize and streamline content they are sharing. This will considerably contribute to your organization’s SEO efforts.

4. Attracts Investors

The right media placements at the right time can be used to capture the attention of investors, like venture capitalists. With suitable messaging and strategies, PR initiatives increase credibility as a potentially lucrative and stable investment target. An effective PR strategycan also position your organization’s CEO and other key executives as specialists in their field while building more credibility for your organization’s products and services. This keeps your company in the minds and portfolios of many investors.

7 Misconceptions about PR Firms

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Public Relations has, for many reasons, developed an interesting and controversial reputation over the short span of time it has been considered a practice. This is why business owners and the public in general have quite a few misconceptions about public relations firms. Here we will dispel seven common misconceptions that many individuals share pertaining to public relations agencies and their services.

1. PR Offers Little Business Value

This is a common misconception. Actually, communications firms create business value. Note that every company feature, product placement, executive profile and special event ultimately has tremendous power to build more credibility in the market and improve a company’s profile for the better.

2. PR Firms Distort the Truth

Many people have the sense that PR firms are all about deception and trickery. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The PR field is all about building trust and telling the truth. If a public relations firm loses the public’s hard-earned trust, all credibility goes out the window. PR firms that try to distort the truth are found out and are quickly brought to light.

3. PR Firms Only Speak to Customers

Public relations strategies are developed by PR firms to target much wider audiences than just a brand’s customers. This usually includes, but is not limited to, board members, investors, employees and other market analysts in the industry as well as anyone who has a stake in how various audience groups perceive the company.

4. PR Firms are Reactive

Public relations firms must be proactive to control the messaging, manage brand reputation effectively and position the brand for success.

5. PR Stands for Press Release

Many people think that the PR in PR firms stands for “press release” and are under the erroneous impression that PR agencies are only good for helping crank out press releases. The truth is that PR firms handle other aspects as well, like reputation management, brand positioning and crisis communication.

6. Social Media Triumphs Everything

Guess what? Not all PR firms rely solely on social media. Although it is a great tool for PR firms to get their message across to diverse audiences, note that it will not get across to all audiences. PR firms leverage many tools, like targeted media placement and special events, to get the word out.

7. PR Firms Operate Independently

The truth is that PR firms can’t operate in a vacuum. This is because they need vital information and input from various other areas in your company, like sales and marketing, to do the best job.