Managing Your Reputation With Strategic PR

Whether you’re a start-up trying to create a positive first impression or a more established firm looking to boost authenticity, strategic PR is a must. Reputation management comes from clear, concise communication and well-defined goals. Strategic PR goes beyond media coverage and brand visibility. With the right approach, PR can influence consumer behaviour, overshadow competitors, attract potential investors and improve revenue. It helps companies thrive in the face of challenges and make it much easier to navigate the complex digital landscape. Bad PR can and does happen, but if your strategy is strong, you can squash it before it takes hold. Here are some of the best ways to manage your reputation with strategic PR, free up time and streamline your strategy.

Align Your Brand with Trusted Press

Who you associate with matters, particularly if you’re trying to cultivate a positive reputation. You wouldn’t take selfies with criminals if you were trying to be perceived as a trustworthy business leader,  and the same theory applies to business. Aligning your brand with trusted press in your niche will help to build authority and ensure you’re seen by people with a genuine interest in what you have to offer. So, do your research. Check out the audience and engagement of various publications. Read other articles to see if they align with your content ideas. And present article titles that align with your vision. Don’t be cornered into covering topics that don’t suit you.

To create the right impression and get coverage in relevant media publications, you must build meaningful and lasting relationships with key national (and sometimes international figures). The more your brand is awarded high-end press coverage, the easier it’ll be to grow your reputation. In other words, don’t just pop your PR material anywhere and hope for the best. Have a bespoke plan that aligns with future goals. Don’t know where to start? Speak to the Contentworks Agency team for a fully managed PR and reputation management plan.

Create Original, Engaging and Thought Provoking Content

Rolling out a couple of PRs, even to decent publications, is not where your PR journey ends. For your brand to really stick in people’s minds for the right reasons you must have a creative content strategy that feeds your PR efforts. This means knowing your audience really well and crafting a tone of voice that represents who you are as a company.

Content ideas to explore as part of a strategic PR strategy include:

  • Thought-leadership articles – These can be posted to your own social media platforms or to publications where viewers will value your opinions. Setting your brand apart as brave, bold and inspiring will help to shape your digital reputation. The more you get people interested, the more of a connection you’ll build.
  • Feature writing – PR content doesn’t necessarily have to be promotional. You can write a feature for a paper or a magazine and make it all about the topic. People will eventually want to know more and with a link back to your site, or a simple name drop, the job is done easily.
  • Press releases – working with local press is a good idea here. Think about local and branded keywords and come up with location-specific titles people will want to see. This will help to boost local SEO efforts and improve brand awareness in relevant places. Of course, you can also cast your net wider where necessary, by connecting with publications that have a larger audience.
  • White paper research and creation – This can make or break shareholder buy in or audience investment. So your research, ideas, number crunching and associations must be on point.

Remember, content creation doesn’t have to be solely article writing. It can be infographics, photographs, video content, social media posts and more. But remember that anything you put out into the world should have a purpose and align with your overall brand reputation.

Shape Perception Through Storytelling

Strategic PR is all about shaping your own narrative. You must never let other people do this for you as this could weaken your brand image and messaging. One of the best ways to shape perception and get consumers onside is through storytelling. This will help people to create an emotional attachment to your brand. But it’s essential to have a positive narrative that resonates with your target audience. Working with a communications agency like Contentworks can help with strategic messaging.

Influencing public perception through storytelling is about creating interesting content that piques interest and sparks conversations. Strategic PR will also ensure your brand’s message reaches the right audience at the right time. In depth research is needed to find out where your followers engage and when. So stay on top of your analytics or let professionals handle communication and reputation management on your behalf.

Prioritise Authentic Communication

In a world that craves authentic communication, this should be your priority. Consumers want to form genuine connections with brands which is why it’s crucial to look for opportunities that align with your strategic PR push.

While writing PRs and thought leading articles is great, you can increase the authenticity of your brand by making an appearance on relevant podcasts, showcasing key team members in video content or by working with influencers who have the same values as you or who understand your niche. You can even go behind-the-scenes as part of your storytelling efforts or encourage satisfied customers to create written/video reviews for social proof of your services.

This does come with a warning, however. Working with the wrong people or appearing on the wrong podcasts, YouTube interviews and so on can damage your reputation. This means that a large part of strategic PR is all about carefully deciding where you should be seen – and what you should avoid.

Navigate a Crisis with Strategic PR

Business crises can and do happen. From unforeseen circumstances to negative press and social media backlash, it’s important to have a plan in place to limit damage to your reputation. And this is where strategic PR comes into play. With the right strategy you can respond quickly and professionally, keep people updated and control the bad PR narrative as much as possible. You can feed the press with what they need to know and issue any relevant statements. A communications agency will also help you with this, ensuring your communication remains legal and compliant. This is particularly important for industries such as finance that are carefully monitored.

Once the issue has been dealt with, strategic PR can help to rebuild trust and bury any negative coverage. While launching a new initiative on the day of a negative press story is not advised, a well-timed strategy can refocus the attention of consumers. Embrace positive PR and keep your standards high with media placements and content creation. Many brands have bounced back from a disaster and you can too.

Monitor Success for Continuous Growth

Many brands overlook the power of PR, or send out a couple of press releases and hope for the best. In reality, PR is an ongoing activity that requires careful monitoring. For example, you should track media mentions or analyse social media engagement. You can also conduct consumer surveys or use social listening tools to pick up brand sentiment. This is a good idea post crisis as it’ll help you to see if your positive PR efforts are working and what you might need to change. People’s opinions will give you an idea of what messaging to tweak, if any.

PR must also move with the times and keep up with things such as company growth. If you’re expanding or have recruited influential staff, this can all help shape your reputation and confirm your place as an industry leader. Strategic PR can be a full-time role for this reason, so don’t hesitate to contact a professional communications agency.

Contentworks Agency plans, creates and places strategic PRs for clients in a variety of business sectors. Book a free Zoom to talk to us about communication management.