Described as the business of persuasion, PR is a powerful tool for brands and organisations and the people behind them.
If you think about where you get your information and what information you trust the most, it’s more than likely from an earned information source – think word of mouth, testimonials, editorial content such as news articles, for example. That’s because they all have a greater impact than say paid advertising or a social media post alone. In fact, Neilson (2019) reports that earned information sources are still the most credible sources among consumers with owned sources (branded websites, sponsorships and emails that have been signed up for) coming in second.
So how exactly does PR influence what appears on earned channels? Well, let us tell you a little secret. PR professionals are storytellers. They create narratives to build or advance reputation and trust, mitigate risk, and shape image. Their job is to keep their audience informed about their brand or organisations products, services, community involvement, policy, agenda, whatever endeavour it may be, all the while enhancing image and reputation.
And it’s not just sending media releases! This is a common misconception and a bug bare of ours at C7EVEN. PR is strategic communication to audiences through trusted and owned, not paid, sources. While this certainly includes the media, whether that be traditional, digital or social, it also includes speech writing and coordinating speaking engagements, creating special events and publicity stunts, pitches, online content creation, SEO, influencer engagement, investor relations, stakeholder engagement, issue and crisis management. The list goes on!
As you can see, PR is incredibly powerful, but it’s not guaranteed. It must be earned through persuasion, and because of this, there’s a growing misconception that social media has replaced the need for traditional media, yet this is not the case at all! Social media is great to augment and amplify PR, but it cannot replace the power of that third-party, independent, earned endorsement.
It appears this level of influence is the case across generations, too with Neilson (2019) also reporting that traditional formats still resonate strongly with millennials despite perceptions to the contrary. While millennials do have the highest levels of trust in online and mobile formats, they also exceed the average level of trust in TV, newspapers and magazines.
If you’ve never had experience with PR, it can be hard to understand because it’s not visual, and it’s not paid, and the results are often seen long after the initial communication piece. This can be linked back to Cialdini’s seven principles of influence – reciprocity, consistency, proof, authority, liking, scarcity, unity – which require a level of persuasiveness that PR professionals are experts at creating.
Curious about the power PR, then connect with us, we’d love to show you how we create captivating communications and what it can do for you, or your business.