How PR Really Works—And Should It Be in Your 2021 Budget?
I find that most companies in our industry don’t really understand the concept of public relations, nor are they aware of the monumental impact that a good publicist can have on their business. Either they’ve never used a publicist, or they’ve never used a great one.
Not using one or using a less-than-great publicist can both yield equally unimpressive results. Case in point, I had one prospect tell me that his company had been trying for a year to reach reporters at the Wall Street Journal to cover a story. Nobody would respond to them, no matter how hard they tried. I told the prospective client that if their story was something that could be of interest to Wall Street Journal readers, my agency could likely get them an interview. And we did. In fact, we did it the same afternoon he became our client, and we made it look effortless.
He was in awe. To us, it was another day of work at our agency. We frequently secure coverage for our clients on the pages of major newspapers and trade publications, as well as interviews on TV and radio. Just recently, one of our publicists made a client the centerpiece of a full-length feature article in the Washington Post. Yes, it was just another day at work—and we love it that way.
How We Do It
So how do we do it, and make it look easy? Well, great publicity doesn’t just happen. It takes careful planning and research, as well as a good deal of trust and incredible connections. As I often say, it is a lot like sales.
Our publicists have cultivated relationships with the major reporters and editors who cover the mortgage industry, whether they work for national, trade or local media outlets. They follow these reporters’ stories, comment on them, and familiarize themselves with the topics these reporters like to write about.
By the time our publicists pitch a story to a reporter, they have a high level of confidence that the reporter will be interested in our pitch because they’ve done research and have built a relationship of trust. And by providing the journalist with a story that will very likely interest their readers, we’re actually helping them.
The Power of PR
We have plenty of clients who tell us they landed huge accounts as a result of press coverage we generated for them. PR is an incredible tool for a sales team. It increases public awareness of your company, builds credibility, and drives traffic to your website.
PR can also be used to sway public opinion so that your target audience learns to value what your company does. It can also help them understand how your services or products differ or are superior to what is out there. Your target audience could be prospective clients, or they could be regulators or investors, for instance.
Great PR also boosts your rankings on Google, which places a high value on content that comes from third-party sources, such as news websites. It also helps attract the interest of investors and prospective hires.
Once You Try It, You Won’t Go Back
Over the years, I’ve had some clients engage us purely for marketing, and when I suggested they try using our public relations and publicity services for a few months to see what they thought, they were inevitably hooked. PR truly gets addicting as it has such a positive impact on a company. Once you try it, you can’t go back. After all, if it helps you grow your business, why would you?
So, as we close 2020, it’s important that your company budgets for public relations in 2021. Great publicity does not need to be very expensive, but it does need to be consistent. That means proactively reaching out to the press throughout the year, securing interviews and contributing articles on a regular basis, writing and distributing press releases, as well as amplifying these efforts by sharing them on social media.
If you need help coming up with a PR budget and strategy that works for you, we are happy to help, no matter how big or small you are. We’ve helped companies of all sizes and in every segment of the mortgage industry leverage PR to grow their companies.
To learn more, just drop me a note at Info@StrategicVantage.com.
And for advice on how much to budget for marketing, check out these blogs we have written on the matter:
By Rosalie Berg, President, Strategic Vantage