Public relations (PR), designed to promote a company or startup’s interests and brand image, is experiencing rapid growth. The industry’s revenue worldwide is set to go from $88 billion in 2020 to approximately $129 billion by 2025.
In times of economic uncertainty due to the crisis in the global market and the overload of information and technological resources, organizations must implement effective strategies to increase their reach and the value they can offer customers—even amid all the chaos.
In an interview with Daniela Restrepo, Vice President of Publicize, an international PR firm based in Colombia and Spain, we discussed the importance of basic PR concepts, such as reach and value, among other essential pillars that can take companies and startups to the next level.
How do you define the concepts of reach and value in PR?
As some of you may already know, PR is an invaluable resource to support the reach and value of a brand, company, or individual in the eyes of their investors, target audience, market, relevant media, potential allies, and more.
I like to explain this beforehand because, before starting any kind of relationship, clarity is key to manage expectations, explain the purpose of my services and potential reach, and the extent to which I can help others through PR.
Let’s first talk about reach, which is defined not just by the number of media outlets that can be captured through relatable stories, tips, knowledge, relevant products or services.
Reach is also about the number of people (audience) that can be reached through those media outlets, be they digital, print, or audiovisual.
On the other hand, there’s value, which is a bit more complicated to explain: On one hand, there’s the value that a person delivers through their interviews, knowledge sharing, and experience.
On the other hand, there’s the added value that both the audience and media attribute to the information that the brand or expert provides.
Why are these concepts important in the industry?
Because they go hand in hand: A brand or service is as relevant as its reach. Simply put, I can have the best energy drink on the market, but if nobody knows about it, nobody talks about it, and nobody buys it, then it has no value or reach and, consequently, no return on investment.
Without reach, the process of gaining visibility and monetizing slows down significantly. That is why a brand or service should always consider these important concepts in its strategy:
How will I reach my target audience? Through which channels? How do they like to be addressed? What tools should I use to reach them? These would be some of the questions worth asking when building marketing and PR strategies.
How can companies identify if their value proposition and reach will be successful?
Having a strategy does not guarantee your reach or value in the market at all. However, it allows you to compare and set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will later reveal whether you are heading in the right direction or if, on the contrary, you need to make changes in your strategy when you are not achieving the expected results.
Now, communication strategy alone is not the sole tool for achieving reach. Well-thought-out collaborations with partners who can contribute to the growth we seek are also essential as well as networking to help you get on the radar of individuals of interest (potential clients).
And finally, industry events too. You can participate by sharing our experiences or attend as guests to understand the state of the industry and what can be learned from other entrepreneurs or established business owners.
How can you create a good bond between a company and its target audience?
Before having a good relationship with an audience, it’s much more important to define WHO the audience is and interact with them according to the values of your brand, the results you expect, and the message you want to share.
From there, you will have a starting point to get to know the audience you’re focusing on, understand their preferences, language, platforms, needs, and how you draw their attention towards your product.
After this, the conquest stage begins, involving all the tools to reach that audience, be attractive, become relevant, stay on their radar, and, ultimately, be chosen by them.
What do you look for when considering taking on a client?
When it comes to a client seeking PR services, there are always 4 pillars I like to consider:
- reputation and track record
- resources (financial)
- relationships with media and other industry players
Even though we may desire that all potential partners end up closing deals with us, sometimes we fail to realize that we are saving ourselves from enormous headaches. We must be rational and honest, and begin evaluating from the outset with whom we want to do business, and sometimes even question if we have what it takes to be up to the task.
Reputation: Ideally, you don’t want to be associated with a client that has a bad reputation because, whether you like it or not, nobody knows entirely what precedes their bad reputation, and you don’t know how it can affect you and your business.
Financial resources: No matter how excited you are about a potential business partnership, it’s important to ask, how long can it stay afloat?
Media relations: Knowing where they stand. Have they already reached a level of media relations that you can help them surpass? Does no one want to have anything to do with this client? Does no one know them? Then there’s room to grow!
And finally, their value proposition, because products and services might be similar to others already smashing it in the industry. So, how is this potential partnership offering value to their target audience, and how do you plan to monetize?
All of the above help set clear goals and objectives that benefit you and your client.
How can companies achieve quality PR in an era where everything is digital and informal?
Although the landscape may seem somewhat saturated and discouraging, personally, I choose to see it as an opportunity, where the true talent of those of us who have been doing this for years can shine through.
For instance, we have all used ChatGPT, and believe me, you don’t need eagle eyes or exceptional skills to spot it at a glance. All the proposals and headlines are similar, and the articles are becoming more dull and predictable. Everything lacks a voice and personality because everyone is using the same approach.
Therefore, for those looking to simplify their creative process as much as possible with generative AI for proposals, storytelling, angles, and narratives that make the difference—well, good luck because it will increasingly get harder to succeed.
To those who strive to exercise their creativity and reinforce unique voices, disruptive styles, and alternative solutions for capturing media and audiences, go right ahead. The playing field is half-empty, just waiting for you to step out.
How do you see the PR industry evolving in the coming years?
As we’ve all experienced, it is a highly volatile industry, and my truth will not be the absolute truth. However, what I do see is that the more we rely on technology to accomplish every task in our professional roles, the easier it becomes for us to become irrelevant.
I see a great deal of collaboration between technology and PR professionals, but always with the prompts and creativity originating first from the professional. Because don’t get me wrong, technology is not the enemy, but there is a fine line between using it as a tool and relying on it completely.
In conversations with colleagues, we perceive a tremendous opportunity in crisis management, strategy creation, and building relationships with journalists and editors—PR traits that require a human and a personal touch.
There is also growing alignment between marketing and PR, where they support and work closely together, sharing very similar objectives and simpler KPIs, and that’s something to pay attention to.
Disclosure: This article mentions Publicize, an Espacio portfolio company.