Dummies’ guide…to local PR

PRAre you confused about what is advertising and what PR actually is? Chris Baker clears the confusion.

The first point to make in this piece is that I’m talking about editorial coverage (like this article), as opposed to paid-for advertising (which incidentally also features on this page).

Advertising does have its place, but PR and editorial coverage are generally more valuable as they carry third-party approval, ie the editor felt that it was valid to run this story and that it is newsworthy.

Good PR is about delivering content of real interest – not selling – to readers so that they engage with you and your brand.

Over time, you will build a good reputation and potential clients will come to trust you.

How to offer effective editorial

There are seven key mantras to gaining effective editorial coverage in local media:

  1. Remember you have to be in it for the long term. You need to build a relationship with the editor or editorial team member and this will take time
  2. Offer value. Don’t expect to ring up and get your ‘buy one, get one free teeth whitening’ offer placed as news. Put yourself in the editor’s shoes – what would their readers like to read? Then deliver that
  3. Have a plan. Don’t just place random stories without a coherent strategy of what you want them to achieve
  4. Use the correct media. Do your research and investigate who reads the title(s) in question and whether that fits in with your marketing plan and target audience. It’s no good having extensive editorial coverage if it isn’t being read by the right people
  5. Be prepared to buy some advertising now and again. In an ideal world, editorial and advertising should be completely separate. However, we don’t live in an ideal world and the media have bills to pay and mouths to feed
  6. Offer yourself as someone willing to give ‘expert’ comment. Occasionally, the media will need a dentist to offer opinions on a news story – ensure you are that person
  7. Finally, keep the message simple and concise – this holds true for all marketing and advertising. Humans have trouble in trying to comprehend more than one message at a time.

How to measure PR

Traditionally the way to measure PR has been in ‘column inches’ and then compared with the equivalent cost of page advertising. However, in my view this greatly undervalues PR – I suggest that it is worth more than twice the equivalent space in advertising.

Used effectively, it will deliver great results for your practice.

If you have any comments or suggestions for future dummies’ guides, please get in touch with newsdesk@dentistry.co.uk.

For more information on this story please call Corona Design & Communication on 0845 370 2211 or 07947 470896.

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