These days there’s so much expert advice about public relations, marketing, website performance and so on that another lengthy article on these topics won’t do you – or me – any good.
Instead, I shall concentrate briefly on what I believe are the three key considerations for communication success.
1 What you say
Nearly a century ago Elmer Wheeler came up with that memorable marketing message: “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.” He was underlining the importance of the customer experience – the benefits of the product, rather than its features.
We’re all understandably and justifiably proud of the all the good things we’ve crammed into our product or service offering, and it’s very easy to list them all. But that’s seldom enough to convince customers.
Grab customers’ upfront attention by focusing on the benefits of using your product or service. Once you have their attention, the features will serve as positive reinforcement, demonstrating how you will deliver the promised benefits.
2 How you say it
Grammar and spelling aside, language gives us the freedom to pick from a multitude of styles. I favour a newsy approach to copywriting, because most readers are already familiar with it. Additionally, it is a neat way to deliver benefits and features in descending order of importance.
This traditional ‘press release’ approach provides scalable material for a wide range of outputs including traditional print media, social media and that all-important medium over which you have full control: your website
3 Going online
I’ve recently reworked my website to emphasis the benefits that I can bring to my clients. The features are still there, but they are off-menu and are a click through from the focus pages.
At the same time, I have rewritten my site title and description to make it more relevant to potential clients in my geographical area. My Google search performance has shown a marked improvement.
So now I am generating more material to keep my site fresh – and using social media to attract people to it. And if that’s how you’ve reached this paragraph, perhaps you’d like to chat about how we could develop a similar programme for your business. Please use my contact form to get in touch.
Every organisation that depends on support from customers, investors, ratepayers, voters, members or donors needs public relations. That means just about everything from corner shop to mega-corporation, from village school to government department.
Public relations is an important part of an organisation’s marketing activities – designed to garner public support – complementing other key elements such as advertising and promotions. But while the latter two seek to deliver a repetitive ‘buy’ message, PR strives to build long-term confidence and understanding – enabling customers to make informed purchasing decisions.
PR starts at the first moment of customer contact – and if it is successful it spawns long-lasting customer loyalty.
There are two levels to PR. One is the simple practical act of treating customers well when they walk into the shop. The other is the more complex creation and management of communication elements targeting customers – and others – both in-store and elsewhere.
With the internet, email and social media coming into play over the past 20 or so years, the range of print and electronic PR tools available today is vast.
For many organisations focused on growing a business based on trusted products and service, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep on top of the best PR opportunities. And it’s certainly difficult to generate and manage the types of content necessary to do the job.
As a PR consultant, my role is to help organisations explore the communication possibilities and implement tactics to suit the needs of the moment.
Much of this role involves compilation of written material – and its publication in a range of media including websites, newsletters, social media, brochures and so on. Some of these variations are based on news releases or feature articles, produced in a credibility-boosting style typical of mainstream news media.
By using a PR consultant, organisations get the benefit of an experienced, objective approach to communication issues – enhancing the quality of the outgoing messages and developing more favourable perceptions among target readers. And the organisation can focus on its business while the consultant takes care of the communication.
Now of course there is never a perfect answer for every communication need – but what is more important is that an organisation is actively responding creatively to challenges and opportunities.
David Goddin was born in the UK and educated in South Africa. He began his career on daily newspapers and trade journals, before moving into public relations consulting. He produced award-winning writing and became an Accredited PR Practitioner, the highest qualification of the Public Relations Institute of South Africa. Since his return to the UK 17 years ago he has also contributed to a number of highly successful PR and marketing communications campaigns for major national and multinational clients. He is currently also President of the Haslemere & District Chamber of Trade & Commerce.