Looking at Your Business Goals Through a PR Lens

Companies often come to us with a general interest in public relations and a list of business goals that they would like to accomplish. While PR is a great investment, understanding how the public relations industry works is crucial to understanding that investment.

Starting a business relationship on the same page is essential to any good partnership. Below are the most common business goals we see come through our doors, along with realistic PR goals, from our team, in order to ensure the best PR outcome.

1. We want to be on the cover of [insert publication]

National press coverage is exciting to land in the public relations industry. From the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal, our team has secured a lot of great hits. However, one thing we always tell our clients is national press coverage is not a guarantee. It’s important to understand that while some founders come though the doors aiming to be on the cover of, say for example, Inc. Magazine, that may not be the most impactful publication for their audience. Does their target audience actually read Inc. or is the prestige of the publication the only focus? Understanding your audience and pushing for the coverage that is most relevant brings the greatest impact.

2. We want more customers in the door and an increase in sales

While a good public relations campaign CAN lead to an increase in sales and foot traffic, that’s not a specific measurable goal. Public relations is about creating brand awareness and in turn, that can lead to higher sales and foot traffic. Lead generation public relations is only one piece of the sales side of a business. Assuming that the business is signing a PR retainer, only focusing on sales and foot traffic is holding your business to intangible expectations and ends up harming your business. We've seen it happen.

3. We need a viral video

For a long time it was difficult to track word-of mouth buzz, but with the Internet, information creates a trail and that has created the opportunity for events and videos to go viral. But, it’s unrealistic to ask for a viral idea or video. Going viral is natural and organic. According to Time Magazine article, Yahoo researchers studied the spread of millions of messages on Twitter and found that more than 90 percent of messages on didn't diffuse and just one percent were shared more than seven times. But nothing went fully viral. Creating a buzz around events and newsworthy announcements will garner interest and awareness, but asking to go viral is not realistic.

4. Can you just send out a few press releases?

As our founder always says, it’s important to have all the legs of the stool working together. Meaning, there needs to be a balance of each aspect of PR. If you’re asking an agency to solely write content, then that will be their only task. In turn, another agency will need to focus solely on social media, and so on. Hiring multiple agencies for each aspect of PR will create a disparate, unorganized and inefficient campaign.

5. We want to beat our main competitor

When we sit down for a new business meeting and hear that a main focus is to be better than the competition, it doesn’t give a real, measurable goal. Beating the competition needs to have more specifics. Are you looking to have a stronger thought leadership platform? Are you wanting the most media hits or a stronger share of voice? Or maybe you’d like to have more speaking engagements? Discussing specifics is a great way to land on an attainable goal for your company.

Check out our blog on navigating your media timeline to better understand the next step in a public relations partnership.

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