Businesses are faced with many options on how to give themselves a competitive edge in an increasingly noisy marketplace. It is common knowledge that public relations are deployed to build more awareness of services, products, issues and trends. But it can also produce a high quantity of business leads.
The use of PR to generate sales has reached new heights in the digital age. Businesses are no longer limited to hoping media outlets will cover their activities or attending trade shows to get the word out. Social media and other digital marketing tools have dramatically changed how PR can drive sales growth.
Here are five ways that PR can support lead generation:
• Create Compelling Content - If the press release isn’t dead, it’s certainly on life support. Journalists cannot possibly keep up with the deluge of press releases and e-mail pitches clogging up their in-boxes. A growing number of companies have forsaken press releases and are creating their own content, such as informative articles on topics related to a company’s business, to engage their audiences, which hopefully creates new business opportunities. This content is used on corporate websites, social media channels, and repurposed for sales brochures and other marketing material.
• Media Coverage Builds Credibility - Press coverage brings enhanced visibility credibility to businesses seeking to set themselves apart from their competitors. Favorable stories about your company may just win the sale over press-shy competitors. And media coverage now has a longer reach, with stories being shared on a company’s social media platforms or linked back to the media outlet on their social media.
• Educating the masses - Companies exhibiting at industry events need to use this opportunity to show everyone how smart they are. This can be accomplished by developing an educational program designed for these events. However, be careful not to pitch your product during this exercise. Your audience should be sophisticated enough to understand that your company is selling something, so no need to hit them over the head with it. Talk about lead generation-- this will not only allow your company to position itself as thought leaders, but gives the opportunity to build with people who will visit the company’s website, follow on social media channels, subscribe to company newsletters, and other forms of engagement.
• Leave the bragging to the customer - Customer testimonials are a sure-fire way to grow sales leads. What can be more persuasive than customers talking about how your product or service helped their business. Pick a few of your best customers and ask them if they don’t mind saying a few nice things about your company or product. Even better, ask them to do a video testimonial which tends to make the message more impactful.
• Keep a Close Eye on the Competition - Monitoring your competitors’ communications strategies would be quite smart for your company’s lead-generation program. Do your competitors have an active editorial outreach campaign? You can bet they do if you start seeing stories about them plastered all over the place? Do your competitors have a strong digital presence? If the number of followers on LinkedIn, or search engine page rankings pale next to your competitors, your company needs to step up its digital game.
The digitalization of PR has been a game-changer in how businesses help fill their sales pipeline. Those companies that utilize modern PR strategies will be the ones that will often achieve their sales goals than those that don’t.