TWI: Why do brands need PR?
After working as a feature writer and editor for 15 years, Kate Everett founded TWI as The Write Impression in 2008. Back then Facebook was the new kid on the block, social media was in its infancy, and most people who did have internet access relied on a dial-up connection that was a million miles away from superfast connectivity.
When TWI started out it was purely a content and PR agency working mainly with print content copywriting and news media. That has all changed and they now have a multi-skilled team working with clients all over the world as a full-service marketing and PR company.
We sat down with Kate to find out about how PR has changed over the years, how it has been impacted by the rise of social media, and what companies should look out for if they want to invest in really effective PR.
Q – Why do brands need PR?
A – Public relations (PR) is exactly that. It’s about telling your story, building trust and reputation. In the work we do, PR isn’t about stunts to grab attention, it’s about building influence as a thought leader and sharing key achievements that develop the profile of your business and the people and culture within it.
Q – Is it possible to measure the impact of PR?
A- Yes! We can use digital tools to monitor and evaluate PR through print and online coverage, and we can calculate advertising value equivalent (AVE) on editorial space. If you’re thinking about investing in PR, a detailed coverage report with metrics is the minimum you should be provided with. If your agency isn’t giving you this, ask for it!
Q – What benefits should a business see from PR?
A – For many clients, they see the enhanced profile PR gives them as a door opener and influencing tool. When their clients and stakeholders see them in the news and trade press it gives them a leading edge in their status. It also gives their sales teams and marketers something unique to talk about – it gives them an edge. Whether its winning contracts or attracting talent, positive PR is a winning formula for growth.
Q – There’s a lot of confusion between advertisement and PR. What is the difference?
A – Good question! I will answer with a question. If you are an editor of a print or online news channel that relies on advertising, why would you print what is obviously a commercial story for free?
Advertising is anything that relates to selling a product or service. PR is an announcement, news story or thought leadership piece with unique content. Of course, you can wrap the story around how great your business is, but it needs to have a hook and not contain anything sales related.
If you want a middle ground, consider doing some sponsorship with the publications you want to be featured in. Pay for your advertising space and you’ll find you are more likely to be treated kindly when it comes to your news stories.
Q – How can businesses use social media as part of PR?
A – Over the years we have seen the lines become more blurred between traditional PR and the digital and social space. Today, a good PR campaign should always include repurposing the content for social media, web news, newsletters and video. If you’re sharing your press coverage, always tag the news outlet in.
Q – What makes for good PR content?
A – I always say a good story should make the reader feel something (something positive of course). You only have a few seconds to grab their interest, so the heading and first paragraph are critical.
Remember you are telling a story, so it needs to have a beginning, middle and end with a call to action. Don’t waste your reader’s time by overcomplicating your content or trying to please everyone by overloading it with information.
Your content should have a purpose. Start and end with that.
Q – Why is it important to have a multi-channel strategy?
A – The way people access and consume news is more diverse than it has ever been. This is great news for PR as it enables us to maximise our reach. When you’re planning your content strategy look at every possible online and offline touch point for your audience. Repurposing content is the best value for money marketing discipline you can invest in so always think beyond the media and look at every external and internal communication channel.
Don’t forget any trade associations or memberships you have – news sharing is often part of the package and will hugely amplify your campaign.
Q – Any final tips for businesses looking to invest in PR?
Don’t be afraid to spend time with your marketing team or agency to fully understand your why, the purpose behind your marketing investment and what you expect as your ROI. We have some incredible reporting tools now that can deep dive into any metric you want to see so don’t make do with an Excel spreadsheet that no one understands!