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

The best PR plans are proactive not reactive. I know – not exactly breaking news, but from our vantage point, it’s definitely advice worth repeating. Even better advice is to develop a process to align your PR efforts with your overall marketing communications plan and sales goals. That means your PR efforts work in conjunction with other strategies such as e-blasts and online and print advertising. For many companies PR begins and ends at the most basic level. The reasons for this vary, but often come down to time, experience and under valuing the impact PR can have when integrated into the overall marketing mix.

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

Level 1: Occasional
This is when your company seeks media coverage to announce new hires, awards or product/service unveilings. Occasionally, you score bigger coverage, but it’s a rare occurrence. A common occurrence at this level is blindly sending out press releases with little or no media follow-up.

Level 2: Ongoing
This involves a more concerted effort to distribute your news via news and trade media. At this level, you have a fairly good handle on how to tap into an editorial calendar, what editors consider newsworthy and which reporters to call when your news warrants coverage. You love when you get coverage, the question now is how to get more?

Level 3: Sustained & Strategic
Companies that do well with level 2 should strive for level 3. At this level, the PR is one component of your overall marketing plan for the year. In addition to the elements of the previous levels, your PR has evolved toward positioning your company/organization as a resource within your industry and to the writers who cover your industry. PR at this level includes guest columns, feature articles, 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 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 Hope Graby, Scheffey’s PR Director.