There is an old saying: Advertising is what you pay for, and publicity is what you pray for.
When it comes to Public Relations (PR), you may have heard of it in concept, but few understand the exact art, what it entails and how it can impact the business model.
In short, Public Relations refers to the strategic communication between a business and its audience to maintain, cultivate and influence public perception. But, exactly how it works alongside your business model; can be tricky to define in one sentence.
With over 14 years in PR under her belt, Cherelle Jones, PR Manager at CCF Media, explores how Public Relations works, why it is an important marketing tool, what makes a good campaign, and how you can utilise it within your clinic.
Like any business, running a clinic can be time-consuming, and it becomes difficult to dedicate time to getting your brand the recognition it deserves. That is where PR comes in.
At the core, Public Relations is really an art form. It is a subtle approach that yields big results to impact your bottom line. Public Relations professionals are expert storytellers. They work with you to find a strategy; and craft newsworthy angles to get your story in the hands of your target audience, which helps builds trust.
Nowadays, the average consumer is a lot savvier and only trusts brands they have heard of or dealt with in the past – and no marketing strategy builds trust like Public Relations. For your clinic, that element of trust is essential to generating new business.
A carefully executed PR campaign will be bespoke and tailored to suit your individual clinic needs and your desires. That might be a full year of strategic campaigns to increase exposure; or a single campaign to address a single goal, such as the launch of a new treatment, service, or product.
To be successful, be aware your strategy and angle may need to change. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, a good PR expert will have a grasp on the current news agenda and be able to craft ways to jump on relevant media opportunities to gain you and your clinic additional exposure.
The foundation of any good PR campaign is a strong message and a captivating story that will resonate with the target demographic. The story you are telling is crucial to ensuring your campaign does not fall flat on its face.
The story you are telling should be newsworthy and relatable for your target audience. A PR expert knows your target media and can adapt your campaign accordingly, so works with that specific outlet. Ultimately, this attracts journalists’ attention, results in media exposure, and means your story is seen by your target audience.
For a clinic, media exposure leads to an increase in patient numbers and ultimately more sales. It also helps to secure yourself as a voice of authority within the aesthetics space, which can be fiercely competitive.
The beauty of PR is that it can be targeted to reach any audience you desire, whether it’s local, national, or even international. It doesn’t even have to be media exposure.
Over the years, the Marketing, and PR industry has changed almost beyond recognition. Now, influencer marketing has become a multi-million-pound business within itself. At a fundamental level, influencer activity uses endorsements and product mentions from influencers who have amassed a dedicated social following and are known as experts within their niche.
Public Relations can align with niche influencers to get your brand in front of your target audience and control the message surrounding the content, so it adheres to the story you want to tell, your specific key messages, and overall brand values.
Nowadays, no marketing strategy is complete without social media. Social media has become one of the most popular mediums for brands to promote their product and engage with their audiences. Public Relations experts, besides being wonderful storytellers; can also help influence audiences’ decision by adding strategy to your online content and influencing how your audiences not only perceive your brand but also interacts with the content.
You can also use social media to showcase some of your other PR efforts. If you have generated online media coverage, by sharing it across social you can generate yet more exposure and boost your brand credibility and reputation simultaneously.
Whilst Public Relations might seem like its own separate entity, it actually plays a vital role as part of the wider marketing sphere, including search engine optimisation (SEO). Nowadays, PR professionals tend to work with SEO in mind and will tactically secure relevant backlinks within content, including media exposure.
PR is part of the wider content marketing sphere, which means there is an intrinsic relationship with SEO. Digital PR decisions are often made with SEO in mind; this is where earning backlinks comes in.
By securing backlinks in PR activity, in turn, you are boosting your clinic’s website authority and ensuring your website ranks highly on search engines such as Google, which again will help drive patient numbers.
Of course, not all backlinks are credited equally, and PR experts know this. Some websites, for example, national and prestigious news outlets tend to be weighted a lot higher in domain authority. By having your PR campaign feature within a top-tier publication, your backlink and website domain will rank more favorably within search engines.
That is why, when planning a PR campaign we consider SEO value, and will adapt our strategy accordingly to secure backlinks that will add value to your clinic and overall marketing strategy.
Whether your clinic is new, and you are looking to get a head start, or simply looking to expand your already established brand, never underestimate the power of Public Relations.
An effective PR strategy ultimately equals publicity for your clinic. With that publicity comes patients, authority, ROI, and sales.
For more information on how Public Relations can help your clinic, contact CCF Media.