"Will PR increase my Sales?" this is an interesting question and one that we get asked by clients and potential clients. The quick answer really is: "it depends".
People tend to lump Public Relations together with Marketing and Advertising and then expect the three functions to work interchangeably. PR Practitioners or Publicists are not Advertising or Marketing people. Publicists "Publicize" by getting the word out about a brand.
Public Relations, unfortunately, is seen by many business owners, in particular, small business owners as similar to Advertising and Marketing. This is the big mistake.
PR is an extremely effective and low cost way to achieve business goals. It differs from the other two functions as it is an unpaid, third-party endorsement of the product or business in the media. As it is unbiased, it creates far more credibility for your brand and business in the eyes of the consumer.
Public Relations, specifically Media Relations does not guarantee overnight sales unfortunately. It does however impact the overall sales funnel. It has the most effect on the top of the funnel in the interest and awareness phase and this is really where the effectiveness should be measured!
As mentioned, PR unfortunately does not usually equal sales. Giving a Public Relations Campaign 30 to 60 days to work won't show you the results that your company is hoping to achieve. If the only measure of success is by sales and if PR is your only lead generator this will not yield the results you are hoping for.
So, what should Public Relations be about?
It should be about:
Building Brand Integrity
Increasing Brand Awareness
Offering Advice/Tips to the Media as a way of Indirectly Promoting your Brand
Reaching your Target Audience
Becoming the Go-To Expert for Media
This will in turn lead to sales as your brands awareness increases but won't be as instant as the likes of the other functions.