Public relations is not a tool for selling things.
We do not make direct sales in public relations; we are not sales people. The problem that public relations solves is a lack of awareness and trust, not a lack of conversion or revenue. If conversion is the problem, fix that with better sales training. Do we help generate awareness of a product or service which eventually leads to a sale? Yes. Do we help build confidence in a brand to nurture or ease the selling process? Yes.
THE IMPACT OF PR
This leads to the next question, “what is the impact of public relations if we don’t sell things?”.
We use digital marketing tools in public relations to assess the quantitative impact of PR activity. We look at impressions, unique monthly visitors, website traffic, social media engagements, website form submissions, organic search keywords – every form of quantitative data available to us. There’s nothing wrong with quantitative data, especially if you want to answer the question, “what happened?”.
But, no amount of quantitative data will ever answer the qualitative question, “Why?“.
Why did the consumer make a specific choice?
Why did the consumer buy two of an item rather than one?
Why did a customer pick up the phone and call us?
Why did our friend recommend a company to us?
Why did we open and read an email from a sender we didn’t recognize?
We cannot substitute quantitative data for the qualitative process of asking our customers why they behave the way they do.