While there are many things that go into a successful ad agency new business program, one that is often overlooked or underutilized is the strategic use of public relations.
Whether your agency emphasizes outbound or inbound marketing – or a combination of the two – PR is an important tool that can help you attract attention and generate new business opportunities.
Here are six things that every ad agency new businesses director should know about PR and how it can give them a competitive edge:
First, as I have noted in previous posts, articles and interviews, PR gives your agency credibility in a way no other medium can because it allows an objective secondary source – a reporter or blogger – to tell your story for you.
Of course agencies provide background information, messaging and insights to help shape such stories, but people tend to give more weight to a news article or a post from a credible blog than from advertising or personal sales.
Second, PR is effective in building widespread awareness, which is particularly useful in getting in front of decision makers who may be difficult to reach through other means.
- In the past PR shined brightest in generating coverage with TV, radio and print media, but today the Internet can spread the word exponentially.
Third, for inbound marketing initiatives, PR makes you easier to be discovered by prospective clients doing research to identify agencies with your area of expertise.
Fourth, PR can play a vital role in new business development through content creation and management. Many people in public relations have backgrounds with print or broadcast media. Former reporters tend to be good story tellers, which is essential for good content marketing.
- They know how to consistently provide useful, well-targeted information that is enjoyable to read, builds trust, engages customers and enhances the brand – without coming across as disguised advertisements.
Fifth, with a creative PR writer driving your agency’s content marketing, agencies of any size can compete. To be effective, the content must be relevant, credible and enjoyable to read. It also must be search engine optimized and updated regularly to maximize its potential for attracting new business.
- It’s easy to talk about producing high-quality, engaging content, but it’s another thing to actually do so on a consistent basis. Agencies that have the discipline to be consistent will reap rewards for their diligence.
Sixth, PR pros are generally the best suited to handle social media engagement. Public relations by definition involves dealing with the public, and PR specialists know the importance of responding to inquiries or complaints accurately, efficiently and tactfully.
- Because good public relations focuses on two-way communication with audiences, they understand how to converse with diverse groups or individuals, talking with them rather than at them. And because they often work with reporters who are on deadline, PR people have a keen appreciation for the value of responding in a timely manner.
Social media allows us to start or participate in conversations with individuals we might otherwise not reach. We can answer questions, solve problems, have constructive debates and gain a better understanding of issues and concerns from the other person’s perspective.
To sum it up, PR can give your ad agency’s new business initiatives unparalleled ways of gaining awareness and credibility; enable your agency to communicate directly and indirectly with prospects and influencers; and assist in building your brand and reputation in the marketplace.