Why PR Isn't So Different From Financial Planning

Anyone that has attended our course or WPE will know we believe PR is essential in order to have a successful business. Our regular PR expert is Paula Gardner from Do Your Own PR and today she is sharing more of her tips.


I’ve just been to see my financial planner after realising that I have a number of ISAs I opened years ago that were paying me under 0.5% interest, gulp. It’s been an interesting meeting as part of the exercise involved sitting down and working out for what period of time I am happy to tie my money up, and what sort of risk am I prepared to undertake.


As I was walking home I was struck by some similarities with PR strategies, in that asking yourself what seem quite basic questions actually helps set you on the right road with your PR activities. So….here’s my PR version of the financial planning meeting.


Question One: Diversification


What other types of  investments do you have and how are you dividing your money between them?


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What other marketing and promotional activities are you doing, and how are you dividing your time between them?


It’s important that you don’t rely on just one way to reach your audience. I think many of us have at one stage fallen into the trap of thinking that advertising alone might bring us in what we need in terms of client base, but soon realise that we need to be a lot wiser than that. Yes, advertising might be one part of your strategy (but for many, including myself, it doesn’t figure at all), but to make the best returns it also needs to be combined with marketing, public relations, networking, and customer retention. As to divisions…you have two main assets (although the amount of these you have will vary from business to business)…money and time. It’s worth thinking about what budget you are going to put into promotional activities, and where you will spend it (advertising, freelancers, networking lunches, paying for newsletter providers etc).


It’s also helpful to consider what time, realistically, you can devote, and whether you have to use some of your budget to take on help to do the work, or more of the “grunt” work  to free time up to devote to this.


Are You After Long or Short Term rewards?


Obviously the longer you keep your money in a fund or account, the more growth or interest it is going to receive. The same goes for PR. Your activities accumulate and eventually have a snowball effect. When things do start appearing, you’ll be surprised at what other doors they open, as other members of the press read about them. PR is definitely a long term game. It takes time to build a brand. Just think about it, in a way you have to prove your  worth to the press as well as your customers. you can’t just come along and say you are great, you have to earn that description through great reviews, well written articles, and dishing out expert advice.


Again, building a database or blog following takes time….years in many cases. And it’s this database of customers and interested parties that can be so valuable to you. But there’s no way around it, you do need to put in the legwork.


However, there are times when you want those short term rewards…when you are launching a new programme and want to get it off the ground, or want to publicise an event you are running. It’s these times that you need to think about turning to other parties….colleagues or contacts with substantial databases, magazines where you can run reader offers or joint promotions, or just fork out for a list of names that you can market to. And, just like financial planning, great short terms rewards are sometimes a little risky…that list might be out of date and useless, and to market to someone’s database or run a joint venture you’ll obviously need to compromise on profit.


It’s worth thinking about your style, and what suits your brand too. There are some brands that really shouldn’t be associated with the hard sell as it will damage them.


How Often Would You Like a Financial Review?


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How often are you willing to sit down and look at all your marketing activities?


I believe this is something you should be doing on a six monthly basis at least, to look at where you have been getting the best results, what’s been the most enjoyable, and identify what opportunities there are for the future. It’s an interesting exercise as even identifying how you feel about spending time on certain activities (networking or Twitter for instance) is extremely useful when it comes to planning how to move forward.


How to do your own PR review


* Take at least half a day off and away from the office

* Consider the questions above

* Break down the next six months into monthly segments and outline the activities and budget you are going to allocate those segments

* Commit to your plan


Or….take advantage of the Do Your Own PR mini consultation where we will go through the above process but with the added bonus of accessing my knowledge and experience on what I think will work best for your business and the coverage you need and want. We can do this person in London over coffees and cake, or over the phone to save you time, and you’ll also get the Do Your Own PR ecourse (worth £250) which gives you the nitty gritty of how to do your own PR.


We have ten mini consultations available at £399, you can book by Paypal here, call me on 0208 504 4557 to speak to me in person, or read more here:

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