Convert sales leads using PR: It’s easier than you think

By Robyn Sachs, President & CEO of RMR & Associates

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a number of unexpected challenges and opportunities for businesses across industries, one of the biggest being the abrupt rise of the remote workforce. As organizations grapple with these rapidly evolving changes, new questions arise about how to maximize efforts and ensure continued growth.

I recently had a client ask me how to generate leads from all of the great PR opportunities generated over the past few months. While the world has changed dramatically in a short time, some key tenets hold true. Now more than ever, investing in a consistent, targeted PR campaign is not just positive for brand awareness and recognition, but it’s also a great way to generate sales leads for your business.

It’s not just for ‘air cover’

You may have heard PR referred to as “air cover,” or a corollary activity that is helpful when used in conjunction with other marketing vehicles. This is true; however, the benefits that this “air cover” generate, including positive exposure, thought leadership positioning and increased visibility for your expertise, are extremely valuable to your company’s success. They also play a key role in transforming exposure and awareness into leads and new business.

Here are some top tips to maximize your PR investment and achieve sales lead conversion from your current efforts.

Recognition is essential

The first area where a PR campaign helps drive sales leads is in the recognition and visibility it achieves for your business. Accomplished through multiple tactics, including press releases, authored articles, webinars, award wins and speaking engagements, among others, the clearest outcomes of a successful effort are in increased editorial interest and coverage in your target media outlets. People can’t buy from you if they don’t know you’re there, so it’s important to continue to focus on outward visibility through media sources in order to consistently keep your name top of mind and expand the audiences you are able to reach.

Editorial coverage and its resulting earned media visibility are particularly important in increasing your sales lead conversion rates because of the third-party credibility it gives you and your business. Essentially, if a prospect is deciding between your company and another, and you have been featured in respected publications and the other company hasn’t, that extra credibility can be a deciding factor in who the prospect chooses. Talking about your company’s strengths is important, but it is also critical to focus on getting others to talk about you positively.

Maximize your materials

Once you secure great editorial coverage, maximize its visibility and reach, and extend its shelf life. This will ensure you get the most mileage from your media hits and optimize them to drive sales leads.

Here are the top five ways to do this:

  1. Widen your press release distribution strategy

Using a wire service, such as PR Newswire or BusinessWire, will not only help you get in front of more people, but it will also enhance your organization’s search engine optimization (SEO) visibility. A strong SEO strategy is composed of several elements, but the plentiful backlinks you receive from dropping press releases on the wire can help your company to get closer to the top of search results to drive more traffic to your website each month and enhance lead conversion.

  1. Share the placement on your social media channels

Doing so enables you to capitalize on the interest from your fans and followers while also using your recent coverage as an entrée to reach out to them and initiate contact.

  1. Merchandise coverage in your digital newsletter

This is another way to extend the third-party credibility you achieve through editorial coverage that can be an integral aspect of a customer’s buying decision. Particularly with large, national outlets, sharing your media clip in your newsletter gets your placement in front of your top prospects.

  1. Use press clips in your webinars to boost thought leadership

Webinars allow you to positively influence target audience groups around specific subjects. This can boost your positioning as a thought leader and help you engage with potential prospects and current customers to impart quality insights or information.

  1. Work your contact network

A solid PR strategy is nothing without a focused emphasis on strong relationships. Leveraging your network is a tried-and-true method to generate leads and drive new business. Use your press clips in your outreach to prospects as a way to grab readers’ attention and leverage the credibility they bring to enhance your business development efforts.

Expand your network and close the deal

Implementing a consistent, strategic PR program is a proven method to spur organic business growth. The “air cover” it produces to keep you and your organization top of mind for current customers, prospects and others in your network who can help you expand your reach is priceless. A solid PR approach is necessary for business growth, and it’s an engine for the lead generation that can position you for robust success now and in the future.

To read more of Robyn’s articles for the Washington Business Journal Leadership Trust: