Public Relations (PR) Strategy

PR Strategy for 2024: A Comprehensive Guide

The prosperity of any enterprise hinges on its level of recognition. If the public remains unaware of its existence, how can they transform into paying customers? To bolster brand visibility, a business requires exposure, which can be either purchased or earned.

Advertisement facilitates purchased exposure, while publicity entails free exposure through media channels reporting on current trends, news, breaking news or sensational events. Advertisements contain pre-scripted messages by the advertiser, making them less objective compared to media coverage, which provides independent perspective.

In the words of Richard Branson, the Virgin Group founder and maestro of extravagant PR stunts, “Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.”

Branson’s audacious PR tactics consistently make headlines. From achieving the Guinness World Record for the first transatlantic flight in a hot-air balloon in 1987, branded as the ‘Virgin Atlantic Flyer,’ to humorously celebrating Virgin Atlantic’s landing in Canada, Branson’s theatrics have firmly established Virgin on the global map.

While shameless self-publicity has its place, there are thankfully less flamboyant ways to promote your business for those who prefer a more practical approach.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the key aspects of public relations and outline the crucial steps for creating a successful PR strategy.

What Is Public Relations?

Public relations (PR) is the practice of employing strategic communication to nurture a favourable public image and reputation for a brand or business. As P.T. Barnum once said, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” One could argue that an unfavourable public perception is better than zero brand awareness.

Branson exposing his backside may be seen as crude and attention-seeking by some, while others might find it amusing and cheeky (pun intended!). Regardless of your stance, it’s unlikely you’ll forget it anytime soon!

How Does PR Boost Your Brand?

Effective public relations crafts a clear narrative for your brand and business. It aids the public in understanding and giving them the chance to like your brand, providing them with a reason to trust you enough to invest in your products and services.

A 2021 report by the Pew Research Center indicates that 56% of Australian adults trust national news media, while 75% trust their local news organisations. In contrast, only 27% trust information on social media. This underscores that news coverage by official media channels remains the primary source of reliable information for the Australian public.

In other words, generating significant media publicity through effective public relations is still crucial for ensuring your brand is visible and memorable to the general public.

What Is a PR Strategy?

A well-considered PR strategy complements the brand’s values and existing messaging in a manner that reinforces the narrative.

An illustrative example is LEGO’s “Everyone is Awesome” set—a special edition product coupled with a built-in PR strategy—that conveys a clear message of representation for the LGBTQIA+ community.

lego everyone is awesome

Launched in tandem with the 2021 LGBT Pride Month, the set incorporates the colours of the pride flag and transgender pride flag, alongside black and brown to represent the diversity of races and ethnicities within the community.

Having Matthew Ashton, Vice President of Design at the LEGO Group, share his coming out experience and insights from growing up as a gay teen adds authenticity and relatability to the entire “Everyone is Awesome” campaign. The message that support for the LGBTQIA+ community should commence in one’s childhood is timely and heartening.

While devising a well-designed and implemented PR strategy requires effort and meticulous planning, the branding mileage it provides is undoubtedly worthwhile.

5 Clear Advantages of a PR Strategy in 2024: Boost Your Business

We’ve previously highlighted the role of PR in enhancing brand visibility. Now, let’s explore how this directly benefits your business with these 5 clear advantages of a PR strategy:

1. Sparks Conversations About Your Brand
For emerging or lesser-known brands, a robust PR strategy and thoughtfully planned campaign can generate buzz about your business. The more people discussing your brand, the greater the potential for converting attention into sales.

2. Builds Trust and Enhances Brand Credibility
To ensure cohesion and consistency, your PR strategy must align with your overall brand values and communication. If your brand identity isn’t clear, establishing that clarity is crucial. Mixed messages sow confusion and doubt. A PR strategy in sync with your branding, executed through PR activities maintaining a consistent narrative, reinforces your brand’s credibility and reliability. This fosters goodwill and trust within the public.

3. Targets a Specific Audience
A meticulously crafted PR strategy enables you to convey a focused message about an essential topic or cause, as exemplified by LEGO. A targeted message is indispensable when reaching a distinct or niche audience, such as LEGO’s outreach to the LGBTQIA+ community.

4. Cost-Effective Product and Service Launches
Rather than investing resources in paid advertisements for a new product or service launch, direct those efforts towards creating an effective PR strategy and campaign. Let the media and the public become your endorsers.

This approach is crucial for two reasons: firstly, external, unbiased reviews carry more weight than paid advertisements. Secondly, providing exclusive previews to media owners and influencers allows you to gather valuable market feedback for improvements before the official launch.

5. Boosts Audience Engagement
When executed adeptly, PR encourages audience interaction. Leveraging accessible platforms like social media to share customer reviews, media coverage, and publicity from independent blogs opens avenues for your audience to connect with your brand.

These interactions heighten the likelihood of your audience evolving into paying customers and spreading the word to their networks.

In contrast to the hard-sell tactics often employed in paid advertisements to create urgency, public relations takes a more subtle, indirect approach. While it requires more effort to build momentum, this approach is easier to sustain in the long run, fostering a positive brand image over time.

3 Types of Media Channels:

Let’s delve into the 3 types of media channels crucial for public relations in the current landscape: owned, paid, and earned.

Owned Media
This remains the go-to for any business, offering complete control over the content on owned media channels. Examples encompass your website copy, social media and blog content, email newsletters, and any other promotional materials. Essentially, any media where you possess the rights.

Paid Media
Advertising serves as a valuable means to enhance the visibility of your owned media. This includes avenues like social media advertising, influencer marketing, and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. While organic marketing through SEO is indispensable for owned media in the long term, paid media is instrumental for building brand awareness in the short term.

Earned Media
Regarded as the most valuable and potent form of exposure for any brand, earned media is also the most challenging to attain. Examples encompass media coverage, customer reviews, mentions, and endorsements by customers on social media, as well as prominence in search results. A successful PR strategy, working hand in hand with a meticulously planned marketing strategy, is imperative to secure earned media.

For optimal outcomes, your PR strategy should leverage both owned and paid media, striving to maximise exposure through earned media – akin to the impact of word-of-mouth marketing.

How to Craft a Successful PR Strategy in 2024:

Creating an effective PR strategy involves multiple elements working in harmony to convey a cohesive message and establish a strong brand image.

1. Establish a Clear Brand Identity
Before delving into a PR strategy, a clear brand identity is essential. This includes visual elements like logos and colours, as well as the representation of the brand through its name, tagline, unique features, and core values. A relatable and authentic story grounded in the brand’s persona and values is crucial for a successful PR strategy.

2. Evaluate Current Brand Visibility
Before coming up with fun and exciting PR ideas, first, you need to know where your brand currently stands and where you want it to be. How visible is your brand at present? Thanks to the internet and digital technology, it’s now much easier to measure brand visibility.

According to Think with Google“Shoppers go online first in over 60% of shopping occasions.” The ease of searching for information online — whether for product and customer reviews or researching a brand’s credibility via its website and social media profiles — likewise makes it easier for businesses to track their online brand visibility.

Online shopping

A few simple ways to do this include monitoring the following:

  • Website traffic, source and location of traffic, time spent on the site
  • Sales leads and purchases originating from the website
  • Social media mentions and engagement
  • Online brand mentions via Google Alerts

The above will show you where your brand currently stands in terms of online visibility so you can define clear and specific goals for measurable growth.

3. Set SMART Goals
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely (SMART) goals are vital for shaping a clear PR strategy. Defining the purpose, target audience, key message, and measurement criteria helps structure an effective plan. Whether increasing product awareness, improving public perception, or reaching a new market, having specific goals guides the overall PR strategy.

4. Develop a PR Calendar
Timing is crucial for PR success. Planning ahead ensures the release of messages aligns with seasons and occasions. For example, LEGO’s “Everyone is Awesome” campaign during LGBT Pride Month was well-timed. A PR calendar provides visibility of activities, allowing for tracking and identifying potential opportunities throughout the year.

5. Determine Appropriate PR Tactics
Identifying goals and understanding the who, what, how, and when allows for the selection of suitable public relations tactics. Common tactics include press releases, social media marketing, participation in business events, community engagement, and attention-grabbing PR stunts. Tailoring tactics to your brand and goals is key for a successful PR strategy.

6. Monitor Outcomes
Measuring the effectiveness of PR activities is crucial. Aligning PR metrics with quantifiable goals allows for informed evaluation. For social media, monitoring follower growth, engagement, and conversions is essential. Website metrics, such as traffic source and location, bounce rate, and conversions, provide insights. Email campaigns can be evaluated through click-through rates, open rates, and unsubscribes.

Crafting a successful PR strategy demands careful thought, planning, and creativity. A positive brand image is fundamental for sustained business growth, making the effort invested in a strategic PR approach invaluable.

Need Professional Help Managing Your Public Relations?

Welcome to Taurus: an award-winning integrated strategic marketing and PR agency based in Sydney. We have a unique and trademarked strategy – The Taurus Bullseye methodology. Our ‘No Bull’ ethos and our unique proprietary technology allows us to focus on delivering proven results for Australia’s leading CEOs, from young startups to SMEs to ASX-listed corporations locally and abroad.

We specialise in strategic marketing, public relations, and creative and social media solutions to drive business growth for our clients across B2B and B2C sectors. If you’re looking for professional help in creating a successful PR strategy, you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s talk! We look forward to helping you better engage with your audience and cultivating the right brand image to achieve your business goals.

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