Budgeting for 2020/21? Don’t forget about PR... with You Do Better PR

Budgeting for 2021/22? Don’t forget about PR…

by | Mar 8, 2021

With the end of financial year looming, it’s often time for businesses to evaluate their budgets for the forthcoming year. Undoubtedly setting and sticking to a budget for the year will help your organisation stay profitable, but what areas of the business should you spend your money on?

Have you thought about a few marketing campaign ideas but wondered how that looks on paper and how much money you need to allocate for it? The thing is, many businesses overlook public relations and when you forget to dedicate resources to PR, you don’t get the results you may have hoped for.

Instead of simply setting money aside for paid ads, consider budgeting for PR first too.

Paid ads shouldn’t stand alone

Pouring money into a paid ad campaign isn’t a sound growth strategy. Time and again, companies breaking into online ads don’t see success due to the same issue – they aren’t known to their audiences. There’s no trust, no recognition, and so the cost per click remains high and rising.

Of course, paid ads should make up your strategy, but this needs to be coupled with outside sources shouting about your brand. According to a 2014 Nielsen study commissioned by inPowered on the role of content in the consumer decision-making process, PR is 88% more effective when it comes to customer persuasion. With advertising, you tell people how great you are, with publicity, others sing your praises. Therefore, your PR story has more credibility because it was independently verified by a trusted third party, rather than purchased. Also, it’s important to note that customers won’t trust you as much if they find you via paid ads. Paid for ads are way too self-promotional, which many customers dislike.

How to invest in PR strategies

2020 is a chapter waiting to be written. One thing we can determine is that 2020 won’t be exactly like 2019, not only is it a new year, but it’s also the start of a new decade which means thinking longer term than usual. PR is great, and it will deliver some exceptional results, although you have to dedicate your budget to the right PR strategies.

Effective press releases

First things first, never underestimate the power of editorial coverage. Not so long ago, those in the know declared that the press release was dead. Extinct. Dinosaurs replaced by the new life-forms of twitter and other forms of social media. But being featured in a news publication still remains one of the best ways to boost your brand recognition providing its newsworthy enough. Whether it’s a local story or story for a trade magazine you should never underestimate the power of editorial coverage for your business.

Word of Mouth Marketing

When you think public relations, you don’t necessarily think word of mouth, but PR implemented in the right way will get people talking about your business. Did you know that customers pay twice as much attention to recommendations from friends and family than they do to advertising? Word of mouth is the most organic and effective way to promote your business, but how do you implement it?

Luckily for us its 2020 and social media has exploded, giving us tons of options for word-of-mouth marketing.

  • Influencer marketing has erupted. There has been a significant rise in the number of partnerships between PR professionals and social media influencers. If you haven’t onboarded an influencer to endorse your brand, you’re more than likely being left behind in the digital world. Not only do 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations but 40% had purchased something after seeing it on Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.
  • Hashtag Effect – Always use a hashtag that’s linked to your brand. At first, it’ll just be you using it every time without fail, eventually other people will start using that hashtag too. Hashtags are a subtle but easy way to get your customers to do word of mouth marketing.
  • User-generated content – Put simply, it’s content that the consumer creates. Post customer photos on your social media or on your product pages. Don’t forget to credit them in the post!
  • Get Reviews – Reviews work as an effective word of mouth strategy and have a huge impact on your brand’s reputation. Customer testimonials can lead to a 380% increase in orders.

The bottom line is that there are tons of PR strategies you can use that have a greater impact on your customers than paid advertising. These tactics are not likely to eat away at your budget. Yes, it still costs money to focus on PR, but it’s less transactional. You’re building trust with customers and that goes a very long way. They’ll speak for your brand and that is worth its weight in gold. Equip yourself with these points when you have your budget meeting and be ready to fight for public relations.

A word from the wise:

“If I was down to the last dollar of my marketing budget I’d spend it on PR!” – Bill Gates

As seen in The Last Word in The Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce’s BD Magazine and online here.

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