Most people lump the two together, but public relations and marketing are two very different beasts.
PR is all about building relationships with the right people and establishing or building your brand image. It’s getting people talking about you for the right reasons and spreading your business through word of mouth. It’s a two way thing and other people validating who you are and promoting what you do.
Marketing on the other hand is more of a one way thing and it’s you promoting you. You have more control of what is said and you control the channel it is put out on. Pushing your marketing channel is more of a natural step after PR to put your products or service in front of your customer, after they’ve heard about you through your PR activity. However, that doesn’t mean that your marketing channels don’t need to be worked on first.
If you’re pushing customers to your social channels or website, the messages and reasons they’ve landed here need to be the same on your sites.
It’s really important that each one stays consistent with the brand image and company messaging to ensure consistency and of course, for each discipline they need to be reaching the right people.
With Little To No Brand Image - PR Wins
If you’re a start up, or you’ve never invested in PR or marketing, it’s unlikely that customers will know who you are. You’re essentially a stranger that needs to earn their trust before they part with their cash. You might be telling them you’re great through your marketing activity, but why should they believe you if you have no reputation?
Customers are savvy and have google at their fingertips, so if you’re selling at them (through marketing) but they can’t find any information about you on google, other than your website and marketing channels, this doesn’t give them much confidence in your brand, if your reputation isn’t there to back you up. But like we said before, these channels will need to be on brand.
Where Do I start?
You need to be speaking to the media about all the positive news from the business, your thoughts and ideas on the market and its future, why you matter etc to give them and their readers (your potential customers) more of an idea about who you are and why they should buy from you. Can you provide data on a trend? Can you solve a problem that is well reported? Get creative with thinking how you can get in the news.
Ensuring each piece has a consistent voice and consistent messaging is key too to reinforce your key points / usp’s and to make sure the message sticks.
Say yes. If you’re invited to take part in speaking at a network event, be involved in a panel, chat on a podcast or be a guest on a webinar - say yes. You never who will be there and who you may meet. People (potential customers) like to put a face to the business.
Build That Trust
PR doesn’t work on its own as a sales lead driver, but PR can mean you don’t pay hundreds of pounds on marketing before you’ve established a name for yourself. Trust is huge and you have to earn it. If you can’t do both at once, take time to create relationships and validation through PR and then get serious with marketing.
No matter what industry and no matter who your customer is, trust is the thing you need to focus on first.