Why do businesses do PR?

Some organisations ‘think’ they need PR, others ‘know’ they do and clearly understand the benefits that public relations delivers. So, what are some of the reasons for having a PR strategy in place?

26 January 2024 | 4 min read | PR
Paul MacKenzie-Cummins
Paul MacKenzie-Cummins

The 2021 Census has it that there are more than 64,000 public relations (PR) professionals working in the UK today. And the work they do for businesses and brands is varied to say the least.

If partnering with a PR agency is in your plans, the one your business chooses to appoint will come down to how you answer this question:

What do you want?

So, what do you want?

There are any number of reasons why a business will want to engage with a PR firm. It could be:

  • To build awareness of who they are.
  • To educate audiences on what they do.
  • To influence opinion or challenge existing pre-conceptions.
  • To get the attention of their target customers.
  • To gain market share and an edge over their competitors.
  • To set the record straight when the proverbial hits the fan and the business is attracting attention for all the wrong reasons.

As a PR firm, we also do PR for ourselves. This is a surprising rarity for a PR agency and equally ironic when you factor the nature of what an industry employing 64,000 people in almost 6,400 agencies (IBIS World May 2023) does.

But we do it because it works. This is important because without first-hand experience of how PR delivers clearly defined business results, we’ll simply be selling a well-rehearsed pitch to woo potential clients.

What practicing what we preach looks like

It starts with being clear on what we want to be ‘known’ for. To me that means positioning the agency’s key spokesperson – me – as a specialist in three key areas:

  1. Personal branding
  2. Reputation management and crisis communications, and
  3. ESG – environment, social and governance – communications.

Without first-hand experience of how PR delivers clearly defined business results, we’ll simply be selling a well-rehearsed pitch to woo potential clients.

How we do this is by checking the news everyday and seeing what stories are breaking that fall into one of those three areas.

  • What has happened?
  • What does this mean?
  • Who is talking about it?
  • How are they talking about it?
  • What can I add to the conversation that is different to what’s currently being said by others?

We’ll proactively contact those journalists and editors running the stories and offer up my perspective and hope it piques their interest enough to include a soundbite, commentary, or even an interview.

Here are some examples of how the above approach has translated into great media coverage for the Clearly brand:

What impact does media coverage have on our business?

First, it gives us plenty of content that we can create on the back of the media coverage we have secured for ourselves. Think: thought leadership articles, motion graphics for use on social media, and video content such as pieces to camera or more long-form versions.

Second, we know any media attention gets the Clearly brand noticed and on the radar of our target market. We know this because:

  • Traffic to our website increases each time we are in the media.
  • Engagement levels on LinkedIn and Twitter rise.
  • Potential new clients notice us.
  • Current clients like it and like us even more as a result.
  • Employee morale receives a boost.
  • It makes it easier for us to generate even more media coverage with other outlets – once seen in one media, others become interested in us too.

More recently, it has attracted a number of enquiries from potential investors. We’re not planning an exit just yet, but for any leadership team that is then media coverage is one of the best ways to get the attention of future buyers.

What all of this give us a PR firm and as a business is greater industry influence whereby we’re courted for comments when new stories break, it has an impact on customer decision making and new employee decision making, and it positively boosts our own bottom line over time.

Sustained media coverage increases a business’s influence, impact, and bottom line results over time.

Every business has its own reasons for doing PR. But if you are still unclear as to what those reasons could be for you, I’ll leave you with this quote from Benjamin Franklin.

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing”.

What does your business do that is worthy of your audience’s time and attention?

Use the Contact form to get your PR started today.