What is PR and how can it help your business?

By Kate Allan, Compete PR

This piece first appeared in the September edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here

Richard Branston famously once said: “Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.”

PR is all about reputation. It’s the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. It is not marketing or advertising – it is ‘earned’, built through strong media relationships and strategic, timely and creative storytelling, making it an authentic, impactful, and cost-effective form of communication for businesses of all sizes.

Kate Allan

Traditionally, PR is managed via an in-house team, through a multi-person agency or single-person PR consultant. There are benefits of each, and a business will decide which is the right fit for them, often governed by budget and scale of activity, but the agenda remains the same: to positively promote a brand’s message to its target audiences in an authentic and strategic way.

There are many benefits to employing a good PR strategy as a business, and these include:

Management of reputation – PRs push to generate positive content with the aim of earning understanding and support whilst influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish a positive reputation within the media and be perceived in a positive light by the consumer. In the event of bad publicity arising, it is a PRs job to move efficiently and effectively to counteract and respond to this news.

Build credibility – PR professionals can help to build trust for a brand by putting experts and spokespeople in front of journalists. This is hugely impactful, creating strong credibility in the media, as well as valuable backlinks to the website. It lets consumers know that a brand and its people are knowledgeable and trustworthy.

Increase sales – PR can get your brand seen and heard on all the right platforms and by all the right people so that it gets the attention it deserves. While PR is not a direct sales tool, it does help to target the right audience, meaning your products and services are in front of people who are likely to engage with the business and become potential customers.

Promotion of values – It’s not all about product sales. PR can also help promote your brand values and key messages. Over time, targeting an audience that lines up with your brand image and shares similar values means they are likely to respond more positively. As a result, noise is created around the brand and shared through word of mouth as customers share their experience with friends and family, or even share it down their social channels.

Boost SEO Rankings – When a journalist features your product or expert and includes a URL back to your website, this signifies a ‘vote of confidence’ from one site to the other. This tells search engines that your site is valuable and useful. By appearing frequently in relevant and trusted titles, your brand’s website will appear higher up in search engine rankings, which in turn can help more customers visit your page.

Read more: Specialized launches Creo 2, debuts new motor and added gravel capability

Compete PR is an endurance sports and fitness PR agency that has worked on behalf of a number of major cycling brands, including wheelbrand Parcours, indoor training specialist Wattbike, and nutrition brand Science in Sport.

Daniel Blackham

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