opinion

Laying the Groundwork for PR Success in the Sexual Wellness World

Laying the Groundwork for PR Success in the Sexual Wellness World

In the sexual wellness industry, everything is personal. If your customers don’t know who you are and why they should trust you, they won’t show up. Effective PR can help you establish that kind of relationship with your target audience — but before you can leverage those PR efforts to drive traffic and conversions, you need to make sure your “house” is in order. Let’s look at some important steps you can take so that when customers do show up, they will want to stay.

Some PR Basics

Combining good PR with a positive customer experience is the key to your brand’s longevity.

First, it’s important to understand the role of public relations as part of a holistic business strategy. PR is different from sales and marketing. Its two main objectives are: building brand awareness and establishing credibility.

Brand awareness is about getting noticed, which is necessarily the primary focus for any new brand. With enough creativity, the avenues to accomplish this are limitless. These include connecting with influencers to promote your brand, media placements, hosting events with movers and shakers, and podcast interviews. The key is to choose the avenues, people and placements that align with your brand, and to frame your message to fit your target audience. Once your audience knows who you are, that awareness needs to be nurtured and sustained through consistent effort.

Credibility is the second half of the equation. How does a new brand establish trust with its target audience? We’re more inclined to trust a stranger if we meet them through someone we already know. That’s human nature, and it applies just as much in business as in our personal lives. No one likes a cold call! That’s why new brands need to build relationships with journalists, podcasters or others who might choose to share or cover your brand, whether it’s a media professional or a curious Instagram cruiser. This kind of exposure is called earned media, and it is more credible than paid media, where you pay for your brand’s visibility in the form of advertising or an endorsement from a trendy influencer. In PR, the more authentic the approach, the higher the credibility.

As your brand awareness increases and your credibility solidifies, they start to feed into each other, forming a positive-feedback loop. For instance, a prominent mention in Cosmo could land you a coveted shelf spot at a retailer, and that prime placement could in turn boost your business and generate popularity that attracts even more attention.

A House in Order: Your Greatest PR Leveraging Tool

It should go without saying that every sexual wellness brand needs an effective website. After all, once you’ve established enough awareness and credibility, you’ve got to tell your audience where to go so they can become customers. Your brand’s website is its home, and whether your goal is to sell out your latest product line at a retailer, add 10,000 subscribers to your email list or get 1,000 customers to complete their purchase on an ecommerce site, you need to include your URL on every platform where your brand has a presence. It’s your business card, leading them straight to your brand home. You may or may not be able to promote your goal directly, depending on the asset and where it is shared, but you can almost always include a link to your site using tools like Linktree.

Of course, once your guests do arrive, your home had better be in order or else all your PR efforts will be wasted. PR lets your audience know who you are, keeps your brand top of mind and lets them know where to find you. Your website should guide them through the rest of your sales funnel, ideally ending in conversion. It is your main sales tool and should be optimized for that purpose. Your brand could be in all the right publications, have over 100K followers on brand-owned social media channels and Lizzo featured in brand placements, but if your site does not walk customers through every step of their journey with as little friction as possible, they will leave. And a lost customer is hard — and expensive — to win back.

This applies equally to your social channels. Though social is only one of many roads that lead back to your main site, it’s a source of vital information not only for your audience, but also for journalists and other media professionals. It’s often the first place journalists look to gauge audience size and engagement, mutual brand alignment and brand consistency. If your social channels look weak, you may lose out on coverage for your brand.

Ultimately, the purpose of PR is to get your most authentic message out to the audience your brand seeks to serve. Combining good PR with a positive customer experience is the key to your brand’s longevity.

Kathryn Byberg is the founder and CEO of Little Leaf Agency, a PR and communications agency dedicated to sexual wellness.

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