Three common PR questions answered

Public relations | Marketing | Engineering PR
Everyone knows PR is just spin, propaganda and the odd champagne brunch with journalists. Right? Well, maybe there is a bit more to it than that. Here are some of the most frequent questions we get from prospective clients about public relations to clear things up some common myths about the industry.

By Kirsty McMahon

What’s the difference between PR and marketing?
PR and marketing are often grouped together. However, they are distinct disciplines. Marketing is directly tied to your organisation’s bottom line, whereas PR indirectly supports the goals and objectives of your business.

Marketing activity, such as direct marketing and attending a trade show, have a very targeted audience – the customer. These tactics aim to bring your goods to your customers. PR has a wider goal.

Tactics such as press releases, commissioned editorial features, online content resources, social media and even search engine optimisation (SEO) aim to reach all stakeholders including customers, potential customers, the media, employees, suppliers, investors and more. The goal is to change minds and build a brand perception that elevates your business.

Won’t working with a PR agency mean more work for me?
Naturally, building a reliable brand reputation doesn’t just happen without some input from you. However, working with a PR agency shouldn’t require a massive time investment from you or your team.

Setting aside time to work closely with your agency at the beginning is important. Ensuring that you understand what they require from you and that they understand you and your business is vital for the success of your campaign. So, onboarding an agency can require more of a time investment than usual to align core messages and goals.

However, when you’ve achieved this you will develop a routine with your agency that shouldn’t require heavy input from you. For example, at Stone Junction all we require from our clients is time for a few calls a month to get information for articles and ensure the campaign is on track as well as their time to read the material we produce and give feedback.

Do I really need a specialist agency?
At Stone Junction we specialise in engineering and technology PR, so of course I’m going to say that you should choose an agency that is structured to reach potential clients in your industry.

However, the reasons why may surprise you. A specialist agency will not only hire people that understand the needs of your sector, such as engineering or science graduates, it will also understand the needs of the media your target audience engages with.

Trade media, particularly in manufacturing, engineering and technical sectors, can be very difficult to navigate. A PR agency that is used to working with consumer outlets has very different expectations of how to work with the media as consumer publications write most of their own articles.

However, relying on emailing a pitch or sending a press release to obtain high value print coverage in engineering publications will not work. This is because trade magazines are often short staffed and rely on agencies sending well-written content to them.

So, you see, from writing long form technical content to understanding how to reach your stakeholders and build your brand reputation there is a lot more to PR than spin. And, if you ask me, there is not nearly enough champagne… someone pass the Bolly!

Kirsty McMahon

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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