Stefanie Hopkins, Founder and MD of Faith PR explores how PR can help sales. Public relations can often be thrown in with sales and marketing and can have a reputation for being less likely to drive sales than traditional advertising. However, it can actually be one of the biggest and best ways to drive sales while building your brand’s reputation and boosting your overall market presence.
Public relations works best as part of a wider strategy incorporating other tools and channels. This could include social media and paid advertising alongside traditional and digital PR. It is all about creating a positive brand experience that will ultimately drive consumers to make a purchase.
PR doesn’t guarantee sales overnight, it is all about fostering relationships with existing and potential customers and building a positive reputation for your brand. Those with a positive opinion of your brand are more likely to buy from you as opposed to a brand with little or no presence or credibility.
Credibility is key
These days there are hundreds of thousands of brands all promising to deliver the ideal solution to customers. It can be difficult for consumers to cut through the noise and find a truly reputable, honest brand that can deliver exactly what they are looking for.
In a world of fake news and clickbait, credibility is vital and can be the determining factor when customers make a purchasing decision.
Research has shown that consumers trust recommendations from friends and family as well as other credible sources like journalists and academics the most. You can shout from the rooftops about how great your brand is but having credible third-party validation to back up your claims is invaluable when it comes to driving sales.
Getting a respected journalist to speak about your brand or feature your products gives credibility to you, your brand and your products and services, putting you right in front of your target audience.
Another PR tactic that can drive sales is thought leadership. Highlighting your expertise is a powerful tool and can set you apart from the competition. Thought leadership pieces give your business a voice and support your brand’s credibility, helping to build trust and reliability within your industry. Showing potential customers, as well as your peers, that you know what you’re talking about and have a solid understanding of your brand and how it fits into both the market and your customer’s lives, can be extremely beneficial.
PR can support you in becoming a trusted expert within your field, through placing a range of pieces including opinion articles, features, letters-to-the-editor and blog posts. Another avenue to explore is speaker opportunities. Speaking at roundtables, webinars, and even being a guest on relevant podcasts, can help convey that same message.
All of these methods help to demonstrate your expertise and can deliver the product/service that you’re claiming.
It is important to note that any aspect of PR, whether that be a profiling exercise or thought leadership, is not guaranteed to garner results overnight. It is about building a trusted relationship with existing and potential customers; one that will have longevity and loyalty.
Knowledge is power
Education plays a significant role in the sales journey, and PR can make a huge difference. PR activity can offer the detail and depth of information that traditional advertising such as billboards and magazine adverts simply cannot. Many consumers will research a product thoroughly online and look to reviews and editorial content when considering a purchase, especially those with a higher price tag.
This is where both earned and owned media can work together harmoniously and play a key part in the sales journey, leading potential customers to a buying decision.
Public relations is an ongoing exercise, with numerous strands all working together to give credibility to your brand and build a trustworthy, reliable reputation. PR can help foster customer relationships that have longevity, not just a quick fix.
About the Author:
Stefanie Hopkins is the founder and managing director of award-winning PR and communications agency, Faith PR and has over 18 years of PR and marketing experience. German-born Stef is a modern languages graduate who fell in love with communications. She started her career in the industry at McCann Erikson Leeds working on behalf of Bentley Motors and set up Faith PR in 2007.
Stefanie is also a board member of the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and sits on a local fundraising committee KACCL, which has raised over £100K in five years to support young people in West Yorkshire.