Q. If you're on a tight marketing budget when or how should PR be used?
A: If you have a tight marketing budget, you’ve come to the right place. PR is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies, because the only thing it costs you is time. There is no extra cost to communicate with the media, but you must dedicate time to identify your target press, research why they would want to talk about you (why their audience would care) and figure out how to communicate that effectively.
The WHEN you use PR is not so black and white. At my firm BLASTmedia, we have companies approach us every month looking for PR and, after an initial call or meeting, we can quickly can determine if they are ready for it or not. For instance, a company is not ready for PR if leadership is expecting this lone tactic to convert customers, with no plans to execute any additional marketing strategies.
The reason being is PR is at the top of the marketing funnel, meaning it lives in the brand awareness phase. Media coverage is a stamp of approval from a credible, third-party source (the press) and introduces prospective customers to your brand for the first time. But, after being introduced to you brand, people go online to give you a legitimacy test. If, in this research phase, you have a poorly-designed website, no social-media presence, reviews or retail presence -- well, you don’t pass the test. People buy from brands they trust and being a ghost online does little to build that trust.
You can still get a write up in your target media, but you can’t expect that brand awareness to yield very meaningful business results without a strong foundation and integrated marketing approach. To help drive the value of secured editorial coverage, make sure you have developed solid messaging, a way to capture leads, and a process to continue marketing to these leads as they move through the sales funnel.