Effective public relations can help your reputation even in the absence of any PR crisis. When your brand has a positive reputation, you can generate more sales.
How? Here are my six specific ways PR can help you drive more bookings to your brand or business.
1. Improves Credibility
Credibility is the lifeblood of your business. Before anyone can fill out your reservation form or entrust you with their money, they must see you as trustworthy.
Prospective clients usually end up trusting brands when they see brand influencers and other media talking positively about them. In the same manner, if your potential customers see negative articles about your brand, the negative press could hurt your credibility. Chances are, you’ll lose 70% of your potential customers.
Therefore, getting third-party sources to portray you positively is a must. The screenshots below illustrate this importance. LickyPlate gave a shoutout to BarafinaLondon, a restaurant, as shown below:
Judging by the comments in the comments section, the restaurant’s credibility was reinforced and even increased.
Here’s another example from traditional media. The New York Times, a reputable publication, regularly comes out with a list of the best restaurants in the US:
Since many people view LickyPlate and the New York Times as independent and unbiased, they place considerable faith in their opinions and reviews. So, if the New York Times or LicklyPlate says your restaurant is great, it’s a fantastic boost to your levels of awareness and credibility.
To get these reviews, you can reach out to the influencers and media relevant to your niche and ask them to try out your service or product. It almost goes without saying though, you have to make sure that your product or service is high-quality, or, your strategy might just backfire.
If you have a high-quality product or service, you won’t just ensure a good portrayal of your brand in influencer posts and traditional media. You’ll also ensure this in customer posts and shoutouts.
2. Increases Brand Awareness
The more people know about your brand, the higher the chances of you getting more bookings.
But how can you increase awareness of your brand through PR?
If you’re a new company or one launching new products or services, you can ask for coverage of your launch, for example. Send a press release after the launch so that those who were unable to attend the event can still write about you. Here’s a sample press release sent by Exhale Spa published on Yahoo News:
Events are another effective tool to build awareness. When you host successful events, you can generate extensive media coverage that increases people’s awareness of your brand. Even if you get minimal coverage, anyone who attends your event will know your brand afterwards.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to event ideas. Just make sure it’s an event your target market is interested in. If you’re a yoga studio, for instance, you can host a free yoga class. People who enjoy your yoga class for free are, of course, more likely to book a class with your studio.
3. Helps with Lead Generation
One of the benefits of PR is its ability to generate customer interest resulting in inquiries about your business and, hopefully, more bookings.
You can generate these leads at a relatively low cost, too. For example, give your partner-influencer your contact details or social media handle, so they can include them in their shoutouts.
Check out this example from Kimiyo, a spa:
Anyone who sees the picture and who likes what they see can easily just click on the Kimiyo official Instagram account and send them a message or make a booking.
Make sure you hire project managers to ensure your content creation is on track from start to finish. Your project manager can help ensure the writers meet their deadlines so you can send out your press releases with the contact details on time. In PR, the sending of the press releases is everything. If you send it late in the day, chances are it won’t be picked up, particularly by more traditional media.
For improved lead generation, encourage reviews from loyal customers, too. If someone sees the influencer post or PR about your brand and decides to Google your brand before they reach out to you, they’ll find these positive reviews.
Respond to the reviews, too. This will show other possible leads that you care about customers and take the time to engage with their feedback.
4. Aids in Building Relationships with Media
In PR, you need to interact with the relevant media for your industry on a regular basis to maintain awareness. You should be sending them invitations to your newsworthy events and sending regular press releases. The result of all of this? You build relationships with teams and individuals at the media organisation most relevant for your business. They can help you when you need to handle a PR crisis, too.
There’s a correlation between your relationship with the media and your brand exposure on that specific media platform. They will naturally tend to prioritise people or organisations they have a good relationship with.
Check out how much coverage Chai Green has been getting from news outlet Birmingham Live:
If you can integrate fast, online booking alongside positive reviews and exposure like this, the more likely you are to drive fresh bookings for your business.
5. Attracts Target Market
To ensure your PR campaign is effective, take the time to find and target the platforms your target audience is using and prefers. When you begin speaking directly to the right target audience, you will, of course, increase your chances for more bookings.
To determine where your target audience is and what it wants, you need to do your research first – you probably already have a good idea. If not, undertake some research yourself, or via a PR specialist if possible. Ask your target audience the platform/s they use as well as their habits and preferences when using it. Then create your audience persona, or a visual representation of your ideal target audience.
So, if based on your persona your target audience spends significant time on Twitter and uses the platform to find trusted reviews and opinions, you’d leverage influencers on that platform. This is the rationale behind Hastings Park Inn’s partnership with food influencer Foodable on Twitter:
If you think your target audience prefers reading traditional newspapers or online articles, you’d direct your efforts towards those organisations, with a suitably tailored campaign.
6. Positions You as a Market Leader
PR can position you as a market leader. PR content isn’t just limited to social media posts or press releases. When we say PR content, we also refer to content that can enhance your reputation as an expert in your industry. So, we also refer to whitepapers and ebooks.
For example, The River Cafe has an entire ebook of recipes for children. This is a great PR strategy to establish its authority as a leader in the gastronomic scene.
You can also leverage podcasts, discussions and events to establish your authority in your niche. You can ask to be a guest in leading podcasts in your niche or create your own podcast. Attend industry events and engage in active discussions on forums and social media, too.
Just make sure whatever option you choose, you add value to the existing conversation. Be true to yourself. Talk about what you know and do it regularly.
Also, the topics you decide to talk about should be related to your product or service offering. So, if you sell spa services, you’d want to talk about the health benefits of relaxation, for example, and target the health and wellbeing audiences.
PR is critical to the success of any business. If you’re not leveraging PR just yet, you’re missing out. After all, as we’ve seen, there are multiple benefits:
- Improve your credibility
- Increase brand awareness
- Generate leads
- Build relationships with the media
- Attract your target market
- Position yourself as an authority in your field
The result? You can set yourself apart from the competition and drive more bookings to your business.