8 Reasons to Choose PR Over Billboards
Eight Reasons Why Public Relations is More Effective Than Billboard Advertising Alone
1. Public Relations personalizes your brand and your story.
Through a variety of vehicles, an effective public relations campaign lets your intended audience become familiar with what your business is all about. Billboard advertising limits you to post a single message that motorists only see for a split second.
What are examples of elements that compose an effective public relations campaign? A series of ongoing press releases cover specific story angles targeting different print and broadcast media outlets. Online and print newsletters showcase various elements of your business. Web site copy entertains and educates your target audience. Hard copy and/or online media kits provide detailed information about your business to reporters and editors.
2. Public Relations builds credibility while advertising breeds skepticism
“Advertising you pay for, public relations (PR) you pray for”. Though the adage is an old one, it is especially true today. People often confuse PR with any form of advertising, but the two are dramatically different. Simply put, advertising places ads while PR places news. Both are designed to elevate consumers' interest in product or service. Both often use the same media – print, radio and television and the Internet. This is where the similarities end.
The late entertainer Will Rogers once said, “All I know is just what I read in the papers.” PR generates news coverage, and news coverage builds credibility. The objective of PR is to tell your story through third-party outlets, primarily the media. People believe what they read in newspapers and magazines, what they hear on the radio and what they see on television. People are skeptical of what they see on a billboard or in any advertisement. A published article or a broadcast story on radio and television is more credible than the most well-placed advertisement. 3. PR is cost effective, advertising is costly It would be difficult to find an executive who would prefer seeing his company’s ads on a billboard instead of a news feature in a newspaper or magazine. The article builds credibility, positions the company as an industry leader and generates awareness without costing a penny.
Some people believe that the higher the price, the greater the value. In the case of advertising, figures indicate companies pay Rolex prices for Timex value. Brands are best built with a long-term public relations plan, not a short-term advertising blitz. Figures show that in the eyes and minds of consumers, what they see and read in the media is more impactful and viable than what they see and read in advertisements.
4. Public Relations builds brand awareness and loyalty.
In their book, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, Al & Laura Ries make the following statements: “The birth of a brand is achieved with publicity, not advertising.”
Simply put, PR keeps your company's name and your brands in front of the marketplace. An ongoing PR campaign helps you rise above the noise threshold of other selling messages that are constantly competing for share of mind.
5. Public Relations stimulates qualified sales leads.
Studies show that articles often pull more and better qualified inquiries than ads for the same product in the same magazine. This is no doubt related to the credibility and personalization issues.
It is also due to the fact that public relations has more staying power than billboard ads. When readers see stories in newspapers and magazines that interest them, they tend to clip the story or keep the entire publication.
6. Public Relations broadens your reach.
With PR, you can extend your selling messages into markets that cannot be cost-effectively reached with paid advertising. For example, when you post a billboard advertisement, even when drivers happen to spot your ad, they only see it for a short moment.
When consumers read newspapers and magazines, they devote their full attention to articles that spark their interest. With an effective PR campaigns, articles on your business are published in print and online publications. Sometimes. If a particular story angle has a certain appeal – it is told on TV and radio news and talk shows.
7. Public Relations builds relationships with the media
Think of the editors and journalists covering your industry as the "gateway" to millions of readers. A key to successful PR is building and maintaining cordial business relationships with these key opinion makers. By limiting your marketing to billboard advertising and other forms of advertising, you are unable to develop relationships with media members who can tell your story to a wide audience at a fraction of the cost of advertising.
The key to effective PR is a consistent campaign, which includes ongoing press releases and media relations. By keeping your company’s name in the media’s eyes, certain press release story angles will capture the interest of a reporter or editor.
8. Public Relations establishes you as an expert in your industry
When consumers read an article and see a source that is often quotes in stories, they develop the idea that the source is an expert in his or her industry.
Not only is effective PR about writing press releases and placing them in media outlets, it’s also about educating the media about your background and expertise so they will call on you when they need a source for a particular story.
Aaron Allen is Founder/CEO of Quantified Marketing Group, an Orlando-based strategic marketing and public relations firm focused in the restaurant industry.