One of the most complicated things about starting a business today is the huge number of options available for you to market your product or service. It’s almost a full-time job to figure out which tactics will be most effective for your business and implement them.
One of the least understood but also most discussed marketing tactics is public relations (PR). Hopefully you read my last article, ÒImplementing Effective PR to Shorten the Sales CycleÓ, so you have a basic understanding of what PR is and why it is useful for hospitality companies.
Here’s a quick recap for those of you who might have missed itÉ
According to the Public Relations Society of America, ÒPublic relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.Ó In short, public relations (also known as PR) is the practice of managing the interaction of a company with its various publics Ð both internal (i.e. employees, shareholders, investors, etc.) or external (i.e. potential customers, community, etc.).
PR is much more cost-effective than other more traditional marketing/advertising tactics and the results that can be achieved (if executed properly), greatly exceed the ROI that can be earned from advertising Ð especially in the hospitality industry. It helps a company to establish itself as an expert in an industry, which – when combined with the credibility and trust factor offered by editorial coverage – helps to shorten the sales cycle when approaching potential new customers. In addition, it will be useful to educate potential customers, grow brand awareness and build credibility within the industry Ð all at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing.
Now that everyone is caught up, let’s go into greater detail about PR for those companies who are inspired to include PR in their marketing strategy.
First, it’s important to understand that PR is an umbrella term, under which many other specific tactics fall. In the hospitality industry, the two most useful PR tactics that you should understand (and implement!) are media relations and content marketing.
Media relations is the practice in which companies interact/communicate with members of the media (i.e. journalists, editors, etc.) at online (blogs, podcasts, online news publications, etc.), print (i.e. newspapers, magazines, etc.) or broadcast (i.e. radio, TV, etc.) outlets. Like public relations (the umbrella term for this type of communications), media relations helps increase your company and product or service’s visibility with potential customers.
Media relations is especially useful because articles written about your company by a journalist (an independent third-party expert) gives your company credibility in the mind of potential customers. The same message delivered by an advertising spokesperson will be ignored many potential customers, as most consumers know that the ethical standards for messaging are less strict in advertising than they are in journalism.
Content marketingÊis a targeted marketing strategy that involves creating insightful, engaging and interesting written content with the aim of creating customer loyalty and increasing opportunities for future business. An effective content marketing strategy will help a business engage with potential customers, leaving them better informed and interested to find out more about the company.
Content marketing is not a direct sales tactic, but rather a two-way communication medium between a business and its target audience; however, it can have significant effect on brand awareness and can be highly effective in establishing a company as an expert in their field. In addition, content marketing can significantly decrease the length of the sales cycle, making it a highly effective marketing medium Ñ especially for start-ups and companies working in a highly competitive market with high supply.
Important PR lessonsÊand caveats
When planning your PR campaign, it is important to remember these important lessons:
- PR is a long-term strategy. It will not impact your company’s visibility or sales overnight.
- PR is most effective over time Ð and for the best results, the outreach campaign must be sustained consistently. Stopping and starting your PR campaign will result in a decrease in efficiency, because potential customers develop stronger brand awareness with multiple, ongoing, regular interactions with your company (and your articles).
- PR is best used in combination with strategic sales outreach by qualified salespeople, as it is not inherently a sales tactic.
- PR has less specific, quantifiable metrics than other marketing mediums. Many agencies use the most basic of evaluation metrics (such as the number of placements, circulation of the publications who covered your story, impressions, etc.) but there are many more metrics that are more effective in today’s digital world. To learn more, read this great article from Entrepreneur.com.
Want to learn more about how to use PR to boost your company’s sales? Download JLNPR’s free guide: ÒHow to Use Public Relations to Boost Your Sales – Without Blowing Your Budget.Ó
Check back next week for more PR/marketing tips and tricks. If you have any questions or if you have an idea for a future article topic, please don’t hesitate to contact me at any time at [email protected]
By Jennifer Nagy, President of JLNPR
About JLNPR Inc.
JLNPR Inc. is a full-service public relations and marketing agency that lives and breathes all facets of the travel technology industry. From online travel agencies to revenue management systems, tablet-based aviation automation solutions to IFE technology, hotels to airlines and everything in between, JLNPR uses our knowledge and experience to get your B2B travel technology company noticed by media, influencers and potential customers Ð and whenever possible, without the overused, often abused press release. In addition to traditional media relations outreach, we also ghost-write exciting, informational copy that will be published (in our client’s name) by top hotel industry media outlets Ð in order to increase your company’s visibility with potential customers, boost brand awareness and increase sales. To find out more about JLNPR (including our services and out-of-the-box philosophy on press releases), please visit www.jlnpr.com.