Key benefits of DIY Public Relations

key-benefits-of-diy-public-relations-1Although there are companies that prefer to opt for ‘stealth mode’, but for most of the businesses these days press is a key way to enhance brand awareness and bring on board new clients. Irrespective of a venture, be it for a recently launched company or an MNC, chances are you are eyeing to better publicise your message to the target audience. Whether it’s the existing customers, potential clients or other stakeholders, there is a target group every business is keen to engage with.

But maybe you are not ready to opt for an expensive or boutique PR firm due to budget constraints or bad experiences in the past. Irrespective of the case, there are different tools and strategies one can leverage as a business owner to develop goal-focussed PR game plan.

When it comes to building a robust reputation –in your office or within the industry – first and foremost, you need to initiate advocacy for your own self. If you are planning to initiate PR activities for your business on your own, follow these key commandments from the PR bible. We suggest you go through them, follow and even start living by them.

Experts with the leading PR companies in India are of the opinion that a do-it-yourself PR approach works only when the industry norms are practiced.

  • never-outsource-your-brandNever outsource your brand

Are you ready to outsource your personality? A brand is considered as the biggest asset, hence think before giving it away to any PR firm that is already juggling a number of other businesses.  

An in-house team enjoys better understanding, in-depth knowledge about the business and domain they are working. Moreover, the team has a clear knowledge about the hits and misses and can enact a key role in the unfolding of the enterprise’s unique story.

It has been witnessed that PR agencies narrate formulaic cookie-cutter stories because they usually bring on board a generalised understanding. Explaining the nitty-gritty of a brand demands time, effort and money.

  • Passion-driven pitch

An effective media pitch is the one that raises curiosity, meets requirements, resolves problems and able to get to the heart of a big issue. Most effective media pitch resonates with the writer, and then with the reader in an innovation-driven way. The in-house team is more proficient in connecting with the audiences as compared to an external public relations agency.

  • identify-growth-avenuesIdentify growth avenues

In-house team build both internal and external relationships apart from being committed to the business. When the team is not engaged in their routine work affairs, team members can successfully pursue new opportunities to bolster brand engagement and build awareness.

Leading PR agencies in India are of the opinion that the management team in a company can enact the role of thought leaders, which eventually elevates the brand presence and also help to boost presence. The in-house executive is capable of communicating a brand’s macro vision across cultures.

  • never-outsource-your-brandReal-time response

Time is essence in the world of PR. When news is hot, the real-time response is important. No business wants to wait on a public relations agency that creates content that demands revisions and approvals. An in-house team is a dedicated resource and their time isn’t divided between different accounts.

Conclusion

The advantages of an in-house PR team are innumerable and outweigh the prospective drawbacks. So, if you are planning to spend a considerable amount to hire a leading PR agency in India, opt for an in-house team as it is the best bet.

Also Read: Important PR metrics every business should be aware of

Important PR metrics every business should be aware of

Keeping a close track of the progress in a PR campaign isn’t an easy task. Mostly because you can’t always put a figure or number, say leading PR agencies, to brand awareness and influencing the audience. Another vexing issue is that the numbers that are thrown up, most often are the resulting of sales and revenue earned.

Nonetheless, in this age of technology and data-driven marketing and communications, analyses of PR metrics have become viable if not easy. Again, these have limitations and are most relevant only internally.

PR firms believe measurements and reporting of PR metrics currently fall under three essential categories – awareness, insights and investments. These in turn help understand the big picture.

Few important PR metrics that can help you impress the C-suite and colleagues:

  • v2Important messages

The key messages or topics you are emphasising upon in a PR activity should be aligned with what the business you are in is attempting to communicate to the audience. An in-depth analysis of the media coverage attained comprises essential messages or important topics. These, in turn, are essential in understanding if your campaign is able to cut through the noise and make an impact.

Top PR agencies in India always focus upon the inclusion of hashtags or catch-lines in their client campaigns. Availing the service of a leading PR agency in India and leveraging a comprehensive media intelligence platform enables you to gauge the impressions you have garnered in the Press. You get to know what kind of articles the media targeted is publishing/broadcasting on your product/service/brand. These can later be analysed in regard to the volume of coverage, audience reach, genre etc. This has proven to be useful when a brand is aiming high.

  • v3Sentiment building

Tonality is important to understand how the media views your brand/product/service. It is important to know if the media is writing positive, negative or neutral and thus analyse whether special drives or campaigns, such as crisis communications, are required.

  • v4Share of voice is important

The share of voice assumes relevance as it displays how media coverage for your business or customer compares against your competitors. It can be analysed with respect to varied parameters – audience reach, coverage volume, sentiment, topic comparison, etc.

PR firms say this has been a traditional tactic even for marketing teams. This indicates the level of the media interest in your firm or customer and an efficient way to review the available PR opportunities.

  • v1Return on investment (RoI)

PR is no exception when it comes to realise the RoI. There are varied methods of undertaking the calculation of PR value like ‘Advertising Value Equivalent’ to judge the monetary value of media coverage as compared to the advertising expenditure.

Others leverage ‘Cost Per Contact’, also popularly known as ‘Opportunity to view’, to decide the cost of reaching the target audience by taking the PR expenditure for a campaign and then dividing this by the reach attained from media coverage. This is essentially useful to display the relative cost of leveraging PR to reach the niche audience base in comparison to other avenues like direct marketing, advertising, which also implement similar measures. For future activities, it can offer a benchmark. Moreover, PR firms are able to keep a close watch on the incoming leads that are inbound enquiries or touch points helped by PR activity like events, sponsorships, website traffic from a media release etc.

Also Read: PR tips for startups: proven strategies to get press

How PR agencies can build performance driven teams

All leading PR agencies try and aim for a ‘star’ team capable of being consistent in its performance. This is an opportunity as well as a challenge, particularly when a PR firm transits from being a small to a large full-service agency.

As a team grows in size and adds varied specialisations and capabilities, it is expected to perform better. But in the real world, the ability to manage this growth from a boutique PR firm to a leading PR agency isn’t easy to achieve. For a team to be successful, all the varied parts need to work efficiently.  The concept can be understood better in reference to coal, which is a collection of carbon atoms, which transforms into diamond when placed under considerable pressure for a significant time period. Carbon atoms on their own are considered malevolent and dull.

When a small PR firm eyes to position it as a leading PR agency, multiple new additions – services, specialists from different practice areas, geographies – are implemented. It has been observed that when a public relations agency is looking for ways to boost growth, it faces the challenge of making the team work closely and in perfect unison towards the same goal.

And to make this magic happen, here are few key ingredients that are essential to build a performance-driven ‘star’ team.

  • give-them-a-targetGive them targets

It is necessary to have an answer to questions like – Why has the team been formed, what are we eyeing to achieve and what makes us unique. This helps to form a clear and differentiated positioning.

 

 

 

  • scope-for-learningReward the efforts

Every leading PR agency should follow an organisational structure, initiate a proper reward and recognise mechanism. There’s no denying that professionals feel motivated by the concept of ‘What’s in it for me’. In the long run, a team is better equipped for success when a PR firm is able to focus upon the individual growth.

  • Provide scope for learning

Training that matches the overall business requirements is capable of bringing success, both for skill enhancement and rewarding high-performance teams. An efficient learning programme helps an employee to maintain focus and achieve targets on time.

  • careShow you care

Public Relations is part of the service domain, hence client servicing assumes centre stage. Since leading PR agencies have a reasonable amount of staff turnover, it becomes necessary to develop a robust culture that helps the team members to realise the relevance of business ethos and deliver on promises made. Client satisfaction is of utmost importance in the world of PR.

A leading PR agency is the one that is available and accessible whenever the customer demands, follows a proactive approach and meet client requirements and focus upon building trust, value and partnerships.

  • Have fun

Apart from offering professional growth, every PR firm should offer sufficient opportunities for team bonding to improve interpersonal ties and teamwork.

Conclusion

Since the communication industry is talented and multi-faceted, it becomes mandatory to identify the right ways to transform a team comprising of stars to a ‘star’ team.

Also Read:Why PR automation assumes importance

Why PR automation assumes importance

2Imagine you create a media pitch and it is automatically sent to journalists? As unbelievable as it may sound but there are many PR functions that can be automated. In fact, many top PR firms in Delhi are providing a series of personalised services with the focus upon automation to curtail the grunt work in PR.

Industry veterans say PR practitioners should venture into the PR automation world, which is treated as a sub-set of the marketing automation domain. The focus is not upon ‘automating PR’ but ensure technology helps PR professionals be efficient in their roles and not just manage media lists. Understanding who to engage with and how to initiate a conversation is crucial and necessary.

At this moment, PR pros should spend their time judiciously on multiple tasks such as – creative ability, content creation and boosting community engagement. It has been seen that with changing times, the data service providers understand media functionary and amalgamate Web, technology and Big Data to offer media intelligence and key insights. In simple words, automation is expected to play a key role in the PR space. Anything that functions like an algorithm in a PR practitioner’s head is possible to be automated.

In the coming years, automation is expected to assume centre stage in PR industry starting from developing lists to tracking, from judging to analysing as everything can be automated. One can say that fast progression is taking place in the world of PR where tools will be developed to achieve PR automation.

India’s top PR agencies have displayed their keenness to automate their media coverage reports. Delhi-based top PR firms also vouch for automation as it allows generation of media list based on multiple factors – like brand, industry – and target them accordingly.

1-1Public relations need automation as it is capable of taking away the tediousness of media relations. Technology needs to empower the PR domain. As young professionals from diverse industry verticals enter PR, it becomes important to project Public Relations in the right light to ensure its speedy adoption.

Since content is an imperative part of the PR industry, communication pros often encounter the challenges such as the creation of  online/social media friendly content that is relevant, informative, interactive, search engine optimised and capable of driving engagement with the target audiences.

Although PR professionals usually leverage mass distribution platforms with the aim to fine-tune content disbursement, the skill required to pitch a story is definitely not easy to automate.

Is it possible to automate PR pitch

Since Public Relations as an industry offers artisanal and hand-crafted service currently functions within a digital media realm that emphasises upon rewarding scale. It is known to all that advertising firms, SEO service providers, social media platforms such as Facebook, Google, Twitter understand the role of technology that can scale promotional work.

Content, paid media and owned media are few categories that can be automated as they encompass ‘machine’ involvement as compared to ‘human’ engagement.

Leveraging digital advertising and programmatic buying along with specific software applications can automate the online publishing chunk of owned media and large parts of paid media. Although automation has assumed relevance in the recent times, the media relationship pitch isn’t conducive to it.

Also Read: Brand building in a negative market through PR

Is the PR industry M&A fast transforming


merger-acquisition
Like in other industries, PR has also gone through its own round of mergers and acquisitions (M&As). Point to note, buyers’ diversity is ruling PR M&As with companies from altogether different backgrounds showing keen interest. This represents a changing landscape for PR agencies. Industry insiders are of the belief that the diversified prospective buyers mean new and flexible ways to structure deals. There are many who say current conditions are most appropriate and it can’t get better than this.

PR players with in-depth digital and social media abilities garner higher interest from the likes of private equity companies, holding groups, talent agencies, retail-marketing enterprises and pharma players. Nowadays, the list of prospective buyers interested in PR agencies is inexhaustible.

Corporate communications lure maximum attention from PE players given the interest and value attached to PR. Although profitability is of relevance when it comes to PR M&As, most independent firms that reportedly ruled acquisitions in 2015 made considerable improvements in the buying formula set by the holding groups. Furthermore, independent acquirers do not place much profitability pressure on selling companies and are mostly focused on incentivising top-line growth. Notably, acquired or to-be-acquired PR agency will continue to register top-line growth despite change in conditions.

Combined efficiency such as elimination of redundant positions, shared office space and consolidated backend functions are better positioned to attain profitability targets. More acquisition firms prefer PR companies eyeing entry strategies rather than focus on exits. Everybody wants to associate with a partner who can help boost business. While the emphasis is placed upon revenue growth, profitability of a new business is the key.

1-1Transforming concept of integration

Creating silos within collaborating firm is undesirable. There is a demand for people who want to be a part of one big team. Here ‘earnouts’ are crucial which in turn enacts the sticking-point role. Although earnouts are structured in a manner that does not support collaboration, it is necessary for the independents to structure deals in a way that sellers are offered incentives in order to make reasonable contributions when it becomes part of an agency.

No two deals are same in nature. When PR agencies are bought via auction, the purchaser typically pays cash to avoid earnouts in order to ensure an easy-to-hand process that’s completely integrated.

So, what does integration mean without an earnout?

The industry has burnt its fingers with the risks of earnouts. In the past, lots of M&As failed to achieve desired results primarily because conventional earnouts only focus upon maximising profits instead of offering quality services.

Private Equity – a viable option?

PEs are the new entrants in the PR M&A world. While a PE firm allows 40-50% down payment on the existing valuation of a company, it also demands financial details, something that sellers are not used to. One must keep in mind that RoIs and boosted expectations drive PE.

Conclusion

The heart of the matter is that non-traditional purchasers offer today’s PR agencies relevant selling options that not just transform how they are acquired but their future functioning. In other words, following the typical agency playbook is out of fashion.

Since the lines are increasingly getting blurred in the era of convergence, it’s time to grab the bull by its horns.

Also Read: B2B Public Relations: Quick and effective tactics to get customers’ attention