Public relations is most effective for companies and organizations focused on building brand awareness and long-term recognition of its expertise. Compared to all traditional forms of promotion, public relations generally has the greatest return on investment because it is less costly than advertising and has greater impact. The key advantage of PR is that it carries the greatest possible credibility because publicity — regardless of whether it is broadcast, print or on the Internet — represents independent third-party endorsement.
When people read, watch or listen to a news story, they give the subject greater credence than a paid advertisement because most journalists are considered independent observers. The power of PR lies in the credibility it can bring to a product, company or executive. A positive news story will generally carry 10-times the impact of a paid advertisement, if not much more.
Public relations also allows you to share much more detail about your product, service or company. Paid advertisements, generally use few words because their intent is to enhance visual appeal and readability. By contrast, the intent of a journalist is to provide more information. Public relations professionals are skilled in helping you fit into subjects that journalists consider newsworthy, which presents greater opportunities to share more specifics about your company, product or service.
Repetition is another key advantage of public relations. Journalists tend to return to experts who are knowledgeable about their industries for future stories even when the subject may not be specific to your company. Interviews in the media brand your company or executive as an expert on a particular industry. Journalists, both those that have already done stories with you and those who have seen the news coverage, will reach out to you for expert opinions once you have demonstrated your knowledge base. Public relations is like a snowball, roll it in the snow and it will pick-up more snow. Roll it often enough and it may turn into an avalanche.
Finally, public relations is a cost-effective method of marketing your business — particularly for organizations on a tight budget. The right public relations professional will help you to develop realistic goals for your PR program and will then commit to producing measurable results. The first step in any good PR plan is having a professional identify the opportunities that exist for your company and then developing action steps to seize the opportunities.