If you’re wondering whether your business needs PR, chances are you should probably consider it! Public relations has often been used as a trendy buzzword, confusing entrepreneurs as to what it can encompass and why their businesses need it. PR is a way to control the outward message that you are sending out to your consumers while also garnering brand awareness. It creates credibility which can lead to winning new business and consumers.
At 3D Communications, we’re familiar with the processes and pathways to find success with press wins. There are many ways to use PR to your advantage at any stage of your business. However, the best way to answer whether your brand is ready for PR is if you can afford it. PR costs money, and if you’re not ready to invest in growing your brand, then it may not be the best next step for you. There’s a reason billionaire Bill Gates has said “If I was down to my last dollar I would spend it on PR.”
You will also need to think about the kind of time you have to devote to your PR efforts. You’ll need to manage interview requests, samples, advice on pitches, trend watch, and so on. Maybe a team member can take most of this on, but if you’re a solopreneur, hiring a PR team can make things more seamless for you.
Below we will break down what PR is, how it can work to help your eCommerce brand find success and some best practices.
Should you DIY your own PR?
There’s a reason that PR is a full-time job, that’s because it takes a lot of time to strategize and implement. You can definitely hire a freelancer or someone to help with PR efforts in-house, but if you’re trying to do it all yourself, burning both ends is a good way to quickly burn out. Hiring an experienced PR pro to take on PR duties and walk you through the process is a great option for busy entrepreneurs.
Can you do it yourself? Sure! But do you want to? PR takes a significant amount of time and concentration to establish media relationships, develop and implement strategies, brainstorm, and more. Plus, you need to keep track of what you’re doing as well so you know when to follow up and ensure you never miss a press opportunity. After all, PR is a 24/7 gig that never sleeps.
What can PR do for your eCommerce business?
You may be wondering why you would even need PR, especially if you’ve gone years without it. However, as the media and retail scapes change, you’ll find that there is so much more than you can do for your brand by engaging in PR.
There are various layers to the PR world, but the bread and butter are often in earned media, which can provide useful backlinks to your products from top authority websites.. This is press that wasn’t paid for, like an interview in a magazine or blog, or featuring your product in national gift guides. Think of paid media as press opportunities and coverage that you are paying to be a part of (not including any sample requests) like advertorials, and paid partnerships.
Some PR pros specialize in influencer marketing and can help you by utilizing their audience and reach to promote your products and brand. This can build social proof, as you communicate your brand messaging to your audiences.
Plus, PR and SEO often go together; press wins, and live links often include backlinks to your website, store, or product, and helps your overall ranking.
How can you find the perfect PR firm?
If you’re choosing to hire a PR firm, or freelance PR pro, for the first time, the process can seem intimidating. Build a clear idea of what you’re looking for, and always do your research. Focus on the differentiating factors of the PR agencies you are looking to work with.
Do some networking and discovery on LinkedIn, and you’re sure to find impeccable talent. Many companies also have Glassdoor profiles where you can get a better look at an agency from the employees’ perspective. Doing your research will help you narrow down your choices and find a PR company that works hand-in-hand with you.
How to prepare your eCommerce brand for PR
You can make the process of working with a new PR firm more seamless by ensuring you have a few things prepared prior to working together.
● Have samples available for shipping to media contacts right away. It also helps to create a tracking system for you and your PR team to share together.
● Create a shareable folder of your brand assets. Give your PR team access to hi-res images, brand-specific messaging, logo, editorial calendars, and anything else that can be helpful to them to get to know your brand.
● Consider sharing a calendar or following a schedule when booking media requests. Scheduling media interviews can be important to your mission, so make sure you make the booking process with everyone as seamless as possible to avoid any hitches.
● Prepare a dream list of media placements, and share it with your PR team. Feel free to aim high, but think about how these dream media placements relate to your brand. Yeah, everyone wants to be on Oprah, but is that where your audience is?
● Take time to define your goals and objectives with your PR team. They can also help you get clear on your vision if you’re new to the PR world.
The biggest mistake some brands make is not utilizing their PR wins
If you’re not leveraging your press clippings and placements, then you’re doing your brand a major disservice. After all, PR is an investment, and in order to maximize your results, you should be focused on promoting your placements all over your social media channels.
Many brands have found success through social media routes, and sharing your wins will give you authority in the eyes of your followers and customers. Get creative, and always tag media members and publications whenever possible to continue to build a great working relationship.
PR can work wonders for your brand’s success, but being prepared will help make the experience more enjoyable so you can focus on building your empire. PR can be the extra momentum that your brand needs to support your sales and marketing efforts from an ROI standpoint. It's an important part of your business that runs parallels to all marketing and sales efforts.