(And, no, it’s not all about spin.)
When you think about public relations, the first word that comes to mind is probably spin. You’re used to hearing about companies that have done some not-super-legit things… and then hired someone to try to convince you otherwise. You think that PR is a luxury for huge corporations that can afford to have a third party manage their (usually poor) reputations. You think of spokespeople that have been hired to represent products or services despite never having used or endorsed them in real life. You think of the people on TV that seem to think if they just SHOUT LOUD ENOUGH that what they say will seem more... true. And truth be told, you’re right.
But you’re also wrong. These notions all rely on outdated stereotypes of the work public relations experts can do for you and your business - even your small business. It’s time to talk about modern PR.
Hold up - isn’t Markon a branding agency? Yes, we are. And what we’ve discovered over the years is that building brands is not about creating logos or building websites. Sorry to let you down on that but those are just the things we do to help connect your business to the public. Branding is about communication.
Public Relations is Branding, Evolved
Branding is a natural bridge to public relations and TBH your branding agency is the best possible public relations expert you can have. We’ve already taken the time to get to know you, your business, your goals, your challenges. We’ve researched your industry, your target demographic, your competitors. We know your strengths and weaknesses. We’ve studied the political and economic environment your business operates in. Who better to help you communicate with the world?
What we’ve learned is that we can craft a beautifully unique brand identity suite or put together a flawless social media marketing campaign but that today those things are just not enough. Communications are 1000x more important than your logo, your branding or your website. So, while it’s important to pick out brand fonts and colors equal time should be spent talking about brand voice and the particulars of how you plan to stay relevant.
Just as branding has shifted over the years, so has PR. It used to be that a logo was a brand. That was it. Slap Coca-Colaⓒ on it and color it red and it’s branded. Push a press release out to the local news outlet, shake a few hands and call it public relations. What we know now is that the fundamentals of both industries have changed, and continue to evolve and that most small businesses aren’t well positioned to handle either very well on their own.
Our take on public relations is a modern hybrid that combines traditional best practices along with intimate knowledge of the current media landscape. Let’s look at some of the different aspects:
Trade Shows & Events
Press Release Distribution
Media Relations (Newspapers, TV, and Radio)
SEO & Link Building
Sponsored Content Opportunities
Media Relations (Bloggers, YouTubers, and Instagrammers)
Our Definition of Modern PR
STRATEGIC BRANDED COMMUNICATIONS THAT BUILD PUBLIC TRUST THROUGH BOTH TRADITIONAL AND DIGITAL MEDIUMS.
Modern public relations is not just communicating with the public and media (push) but how the public and media communicate with your brand (pull). It’s navigating this balance and all the different brand touchpoints where an agency like Markon can really help your small business shine. The end goal is that you’ll have built mutually beneficial relationships with your community, both digitally and IRL.
When to Call in the Pros
Now that you know that hiring a public relations agency isn’t just for corrupt zillionaires and that managing your branded communications is the single most important thing you can do to future-proof your image, when is it time to bring Markon on board? Here are a few times to consider reaching out:
You got a bad online review and you don’t know what to do.
You want to set up some comm guidelines for employees who are managing company social media accounts.
Your posts on social media are falling flat and not getting any engagement.
Your blog posts aren’t getting any backlinks.
You’re looking for media coverage - whether traditional or nontraditional.
You want to promote a new product, service, promotion or division.
Your company is restructuring or experiencing change/disruption and you want your audience to know what is happening straight from the source: you.
If you skimmed everything above just to get to the bottom line, here it is: branding without a communication plan in place is outdated. A PR campaign without a strong brand is just as useless. It’s the interplay between all of these moving parts that requires finesse and the solutions available aren’t just for the big guys. If you’re a small business owner and you’re struggling with feeling like you spend most of your day shouting into a vacuum, Markon is here for you. No spin.