In the Age of Digital Marketing, Here's Why PR Still Matters

Hackett Brand Consulting PR

Public Relations can be one of those confusing terms that many small business owners or those venturing into marketing may not be exactly sure how to approach it. Throw in the ability of marketers and small business owners alike to easily put $5 behind a post on Facebook and reach 700 people, it’s easy to see what PR may be overlooked as a marketing tool.

Though, when done right, public relations can be one of the most cost-effective marketing tools in your figurative belt.

Credibility Matters. Think about this in terms of a restaurant. If a business has bad reviews, a customer is less likely to frequent that spot than any other selection of places to dine. People care about what others have to say. And in age where fake news and hacked news seems to be the topic of conversation, public relations can help bridge the gap of credibility through earned media coverage. You’re no longer touting your own horn through a digital ad, but looking at support & reinforcement from a third party.

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PR is a reputation building tool. While not as immediate as the impact of putting an ad on social media or other digital channels, PR helps build your brand’s story and reputation over time. After a while, people will talk about your brand and cover news about your brand without much effort. Apple is a great example of a brand that is magnified through PR. Every new announcement about a product is covered a million times over, and it’s without them spending a dime on advertising dollars.

This is because Apple has built their reputation over time as THE innovative company to follow. Now, reporters want to be the first to cover their news.

PR Helps Tell Your Story. We all have a story to tell. PR can be the microphone to which you can tell yours. Sure, you can take out an ad and blast it over the internet hoping to break through the clutter and trust (see credibility above) of telling your own story, or you can ask those who are well-trusted in your field to tell it for you.

A great example of this would be building a relationship with a blogger in your industry. You can choose to run an ad on their site, or you can choose to partner with them through PR and have them tell stories. Which do you think will resonate more with their fans? I’m guessing the latter.

All in all, PR is a powerful tool. It can be the difference between your brand’s story being told to the masses or being sold to the masses through advertising. Ultimately, how you play the marketing game is up to you, but I would advocate to evaluate the use of public relations in your arsenal, even during the age of digital media.