As a business, telling your clients directly what’s great about you is useful – but to hear it from someone else is even more powerful. Here Darren Northeast PR explores the persuasive power of the neutral voice, and how, whether its customer reviews, or an editorial piece in a reputable publication, harnessing the voices of others can boost your business profile and reputation.
It’s important to recognise the small element of cynicism with which discussing how great your own business is will be received. When your potential customers hear about your ‘exceptional customer service’ or ‘quality products’, they will likely think ‘well, they would say that wouldn’t they’!
Consider the difference when such a recommendation comes from a good friend, or even an acquaintance – it’s instantly more credible because that source has no vested interest in being anything other than honest. And that is the power of the unbiased neutral voice.
Use reviews to back yourself up
Word of mouth recommendations go a long way, and thanks to the internet, that source of information is no longer limited to one’s immediate social circle. From booking a restaurant table to finding a plumber, many of us now check out the online reviews before doing anything else.
As a business you can make use of these online review platforms, the likes of Google Reviews and TripAdvisor. Use these reviews across all your PR channels, such as social media and e-newsletters, to back up what you say about yourself.
Whilst a large part of our PR service is more digital, we still use the more traditional channels you associate with PR. We’re always looking to win our clients coverage across reputable and relevant outlets – from publications online and in print, to broadcast media. That is because these features and news items are perceived as a ‘neutral voice’.
While you can easily get yourself into any media outlet by placing an advert (provided you’re happy to pay for it), appearing in its editorial overage is often far better, simply because the audience understands that material is not being paid for, and there is an onus on the publication or outlet to be unbiased.
The new media?
We often see social media influencers as the ‘new media’. Of course, they play a very different role to journalists and news outlets, but their neutral opinion is the same. Many influencers will offer a paid advertorial service which can destroy the ‘unbiased’ mystique. But if you offer an influencer a partnership they really like, they’ll sing your praises to all their followers for free!
Unbiased, neutral opinion is ultimately seen as more credible, and so carries more weight. Like most things of real value, it is something money can’t buy – although investing in some great PR support certainly helps… but we would say that, wouldn’t we!