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Getting PR to work for you

The power of PR

In the past, like many businesses, we’ve wrangled with the purpose of PR and what it should be delivering in terms of ROI.

For example, we once appeared as part of a feature on national evening television. The next morning, we waited patiently, expecting to take one new business enquiry after the other. It didn’t generate a single enquiry. Today, we regard our PR function as being two-pronged: yes, it’s about traditional editorial and advertorial placements, but it’s also increasingly about online presence, including features on industry-specific websites, blogs and of course, our social media platforms.

For any company looking to sharpen their PR function, I would offer three pieces of advice:

1. Ensure the person generating your PR is right for your business

External agencies are great, particularly if you want be largely hands-off, or you’re looking to generate large-scale campaigns across multiple channels. However, if you’re anything like us, we’ve seen greater value in the power of one person working with us closely to recognise PR opportunities that are presenting themselves on a daily basis. It may be that one of our PAs has taken a call that’s led to a disaster being averted; or the Thursday before a Bank Holiday, calls to our Property team doubled. Working alongside us means our PR can see an angle and act quickly.

2. Don’t underestimate the power of social media combined with PR

Sure, big opportunities bring kudos (we’ve been very fortunate to have appeared in The Sunday Times at least twice in the past five years), however we’ve found that regular smaller-scale editorial releases within sector-specific titles, particularly when replicated online, then gives us an opportunity to push coverage out across our social media platforms. As we like to put it, the ‘noise’ we are generating then becomes like ripples of a pond; it has the power to touch people far beyond the conventional circles we would think to communicate to.

3. Get your sales team to love PR

Any PR person worth their salt should be able to write punchy, engaging and accurate news releases as standard. But it’s sometimes unrealistic to think they can always come up with all the angles alone. For this reason, we encourage our sales team to think ‘PR’ and constantly be on the lookout for stories that our PR can write up and send out ‘in the moment’. For example just recently, a number of property publications have picked up our piece on: ‘Agent call boost as Easter approaches’; this was thanks to our Head of Property, who flagged this in real time. If everyone is working together, PR can be as big or as small as you want to it to be.

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