Terri Waters
Director of Public Relations

PR: The budget-friendly option for driving brand awareness

When planning budgets, marketing professionals sometimes overlook an important piece of the marketing pie, not realizing that it offers multiple advantages and can often be done for a fraction of the cost of print and digital advertising.

What is this secret bullet that deserves your attention? Drumroll, please…it’s public relations, or PR for short. However you want to label it, it’s about getting your brand in front of your target audiences, whether through trade and business publications or consumer outlets like TV, radio, newspapers and magazines. It’s truly an awareness medium when budget doesn’t allow for paid print and digital media campaigns.

If you’re looking to elevate your brand but not sure you can afford a full-blown advertising campaign, a public relations program can achieve many of the same goals with less impact on your budget. And it’s an effective way to strengthen your thought leadership in a particular category.

Case Study #1: Revving up an electric motor brand

A client of ours that manufactures electric motors had limited dollars to reach the 10-plus industries they target. It’s challenging to narrow down publications in which to advertise, and equally challenging to divvy up an already lean budget to go to various media outlets.

To stretch their budget dollars, the client invests in a PR program that reaches five or six industries, with targeted messages to each. Whether technical articles, “how-to” pieces, or key employee announcements, the company is in the news every month in multiple publications, giving them high visibility to potential customers. This exposure positions the company as active, on the move and innovative. The repetition of the brand through story-telling and a focus on the people behind the brand has led to new customers and helped retain existing customers in this highly competitive space.

From a budget standpoint, if the client had to purchase ad space that is equivalent in size to the stories that we pitched and secured, they would be spending triple the amount of their annual PR budget.

During the last year, our agency generated for this client a total of 49 stories, with 2.3 million impressions among highly relevant audiences.

Not only is the PR cost-effective, but it’s also reaching the right people with the right messages.

Case Study #2: Attracting visitors and revenue with PR

A family attraction venue struggled to draw the number of visitors they had prior to the pandemic. They needed to boost awareness, letting people know that the venue was fully open and ready to welcome the public.

With limited client resources for ad spends, we focused heavily on PR, pitching stories on the new special events and offerings families could enjoy together. We took advantage of every story angle possible, whether related to a season, a holiday, food and beverage pairings, or a musical act.

Providing TV producers and print/digital editors with a relentless stream of story ideas, we drummed up an average of 12 stories every month, reaching millions of viewers, listeners and readers. In the end, the venue achieved attendance and budget goals.

And as a bonus: our PR stories that focused on hiring helped the client recruit more than 200 seasonal workers over several weeks at a time when finding talent is not easy.

Key Takeaway
Not every client can afford a paid media campaign to cover multiple industries or multiple media markets. When that is the case, PR is a great tool for exposure at a fraction of the cost, reaching numerous media outlets that matter to your audience.

Got questions about how it works? Just give us a call or shoot an email to [email protected].