The 3 Levels of Public Relations. Where Do You Rank?

Man holding business section of a newspaperThe best PR plans are proactive, not reactive.

I know – that statement is not exactly “breaking news.” But, from our vantage point, it’s definitely advice worth repeating. The best PR plans are proactive, not reactive. Even better advice is to develop a process to align your PR efforts with your overall marketing communications plan and sales goals. (Yes, sales goals.) That means your PR efforts work in conjunction with other strategies such as e-blasts and online marketing and print advertising. And just like your other marketing and communication strategies, PR should be measured against achieving specific business goals.

Unfortunately, for many companies, public relations begins and ends at the most basic level. The reasons for this vary, but it often comes down to not having enough time to think about it, not enough experience to know what makes good PR, and under-valuing the impact PR can have when integrated into the overall marketing mix.

For simplicity, and to help you identify your current level of public relations savvy, we’ve identified three common approaches to PR:

Level 1: Occasional PR Pushes

At this level your company seeks media coverage for its basic, traditional “newsworthy” topics. Announcing new hires and awards or unveiling new products and services falls into this category. Occasionally, you score bigger coverage, but it’s a rare occurrence. More common to this level is someone within your company sending out press releases with little or no media follow-up.

Level 1 companies will benefit from, “So You Didn’t Get Into The News. Now What?

Level 2: Ongoing PR Efforts

This level involves a more concerted effort to distribute your stories via news and trade media. At this level, you have a fairly good handle on how to tap into an editorial calendar, how to identify what editors consider newsworthy, and how to research which reporters to call when your news warrants coverage. You love when you get coverage, but you’re always questioning how to get more story ideas and land more pitches.

Level 2 companies will benefit from, “Public Relations’ Role in Marketing Strategies“.

Level 3: Sustained & Strategic PR Plans

Companies that do well with Level 2 should strive for Level 3. At this level, Public Relations is one component of your overall marketing and communications plan for the year. In addition to the elements of the previous levels, your PR has evolved toward positioning your company or organization as a resource within your industry and to the writers who cover your industry. PR at this level includes guest columns, feature aritcles, blogs, and public speaking events.

Much like other marketing strategies, such as print ads, billboards, or direct mail pieces, public relations truly needs to be ongoing and aligned with your other marketing to be effective. You wouldn’t just run one print ad and expect results, right? The same is true for PR. Effectively done, PR is a powerful tool to raise awareness, build a brand, and drive sales.

Have a question about your PR efforts? Ask our resident expert, Hope Graby, check out our Public Relations Services, or reach out to us with your PR questions.