PR Is More Than Press Releases

Posted on September 24, 2017 at 9:55 AM

Funeral homes have more choices than ever before with new marketing strategies and communication tactics competing for a share of the budget. Ask 10 funeral directors where the marketing budget should be spent, and you are likely to get 10 different answers. No matter your budget, every marketing campaign begins in the brand awareness stage, and public relations (PR) remains one of the most cost-efficient means of generating awareness and telling a brand story.

What’s the cost of NOT doing PR? When the time comes in the funeral planning cycle and a family need the services of a funeral professional, what is the cost of NOT being the firm that the family calls?

Conversations are happening in your communities, among influencers and between families, with or without your participation. Your firm needs to be part of these conversations so that when families seeks out a funeral provider on line, their search results are filled with credible stories and mentions about your firm; they see news articles quoting your firm or a contributed article from your organization that provides a perspective on funerals, grief or another related topic. The result – your firm is positioned as a thought leader and expert in the field of funeral service and some who can be trusted to care for a loved one who has passed. Therefore, it’s key that your firm gains a larger “share of voice” in the local paper and on the local radio station, on social media, and in conversations happening among a populace that have shortening attention spans due to ever-increasing information inputs.

The nuts and bolts of public relations for a funeral service company aren’t all that different than public relations strategies for consumer goods. The main difference is PR campaigns in funeral service are much more content-driven compared to the product pitching that dominates consumer PR.

Most funeral homes’ marketing teams (either external or internal) spend time and resources developing content in the form of website blogs, Facebook posts, or other social media efforts. Unfortunately, most of this content remains hidden within the company’s four walls, sits buried on their website or remains on their Facebook page collecting virtual dust.

Somewhat off topic, but on a related note, content marketing is not about you. Rather, it’s about what you can offer others. A well-written piece of content does not push your own agenda, but offers helpful insight or perspective from which others can learn.

Funeral service social media is a marketing tool that needs serious content. No one cares that you are in Philadelphia for a funeral service conference and seeing the local sites. What readers care about is what you learned at the conference that might affect them.

Social media only reaches those in your community that have chosen to follow you or visit your website. What about all the other folks in your community that don’t know about your firm – but will need the services of a funeral professional at some point in the future. That’s where PR and publicity can come into play.

Publicity, the process that enables and encourages media outlets to create and promote messages that benefit your company, is the secret to marketing success. Cultivating publicity is certainly not without its challenges, but it definitely needs to be a consideration since families are looking to that content for guidance before they select a funeral provider.

In an era where editorial/media staffs are continually shrinking, media outlets are taking more and more contributed content from outside sources. This provides a perfect opportunity for you to take your blog about your new aftercare program and create a press release or to take your Facebook post about some new research from NFDA and create an article.

Sure, everybody’s talking about the use of social media in funeral service marketing. But don’t overlook the benefits of public relations and publicity in your marketing program as well.

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