In the past few decades, the evolution of the latest technology has engendered the use of solar solutions in homes, commercial businesses, and industries. Many businesses and homeowners across the world are shifting from fossil-fueled electricity grids to solar power systems to rip the benefit of clean, emission-free, and cost-effective energy solutions.
The ever-growing popularity of the solar system has helped solar companies to promote their new solar products in the present market and thrive in this real competitive world. However, solar companies and industry professionals seem to have faced manifold challenges in honing a competitive edge – from handling client/customer prospecting, sales to forecasting. Besides, they have to implement an effective marketing communications strategy to make their product/offer visible in the eyes of potential customers/clients and help them understand why they are the best option in the present market.
Advertising might seem to be the best marketing option to promote your solar products, but it is not suggestive to most small-sized solar companies as it can be expensive. One of the most valuable yet overlooked marketing tools to drive potential sales is public relations. Public relations is a cost-effective way for solar businesses to get immediate media attention for a fraction of the price.
This article highlights the importance and impact of public relations in the solar business. Let’s first understand,
What is Public Relations?
Public Relations is one of the most effective ways to build marketing strategies, drive potential sales, and create a solid online presence for your solar business. The cost-effective marketing tool can help promote any business or industry through traditional media like print, radio, television or advanced media like social media, email, newsletters, and blogs. Solar companies that have caught up with the trend are now investing a tremendous amount of time and effort into building their PR strategies and noticing positive results with better ROI.
Public relations are more about creating a strong brand reputation by delivering an insightful message at the right place to the target audience. Being an important part of the marketing mix, it can offer an opportunity to your solar business to deliver information about a solar product or service most conveniently and cost-effectively.
PR incorporates a wide variety of skills and marketing techniques that may include working alongside the news media, creating partnership opportunities with other organisations, working with advocacy groups, government agencies, and many more.
In short, public relations as a marketing tool can be used to:
- Generate influential news and information about a product
- Develop a close partnership with any third-party organisation to broaden the distribution of messages
- Help create awareness about a certain product or issue
and many more!
Why Is Public Relations Important For Solar Business?
With the abundance of information available to audiences worldwide, solar companies are more vulnerable than ever due to the misinformation about their brand that circles in the market. An audience’s attitudes, beliefs about the company can greatly influence its success and online reputation. Therefore, PR agencies work alongside their clients to help them achieve a solid online reputation and promote them within their area of practice. Besides, PR professionals also assist with monitoring and controlling conversations of a company/client as well as managing its reputation in the marketplace.
Considering PR as an essential strategy to manage your solar business’s reputation or an important key management function will help accomplish business goals such as establishing trust among the audience, increasing online and offline media presence, and maintaining consistency across communication platforms.
With public relations, solar businesses can:
Increase Brand Credibility
- Trust plays a pivotal role when determining the success, growth, and reputation of a business as, without the same, the potential sales may start to go downhill. Public relation acts as a bridge to that trust gap between a solar business and its potential clients/customers. Considering public relations can increase not only a solar company’s brand credibility but also its overall reputation. Public relations involves building great connections with clients/customers and implementing scalable networking strategies that can help any solar business thrive in this competitive world. Besides, a repetitive brand promotion can align the company’s objectives, develop trust and credibility among the target audience.
Increase Profits, Sales, and Leads
- Public relations and marketing go hand in hand. When a company considers various PR practices to enhance its reputation, it might find new potential customers faster. By mentioning a few business stories and considering press releases, solar companies can attract and connect well with their customers and clients. Crafting the right messages to resonate with their target audience in an impactful way to get positive results with better ROI.
Build Company Reputation
- Online communication platforms like social media, email, newsletters, and blogs have allowed the audience to understand and review the reputation of a business. Sometimes, businesses do receive bad reviews which hinder their reputation. PR campaigns can easily fix such issues, increase brand awareness, and maintain a positive image in the market. Customers will read, listen, and share the message or information of a reputed solar company.
Enhance The Online Presence
- Ever since the globalisation of the digital world, every business wants to create an impactful and lasting online presence. Since everyone is digitally connected, it becomes easier to opt for public relations. PR helps solar companies to create a solid online presence that is highly visible to their target audience. PR agencies can not only help businesses market themselves online but also identify the best channels and influencers who can spread the company’s message to the target audience and maximise reach. Using press releases, social media, and influencer connections having promotional content-publishing sites can help solar businesses to strengthen their brand image and increase their market profitability.
Differences Between Advertising and PR
Advertising and Public Relations are comprehensive marketing tools that go hand-in-hand when solar companies want to achieve their business goals. Both are effective marketing communication strategies implemented into marketing campaigns with an ultimate intention – to boost brand recognition, build reputation, drive sales, and achieve necessary business goals. However, you must know that PR and advertising are two different marketing practices. For instance, advertising is considered as a paid media, whereas you earn media with public relations.
Let’s take a look at their differences and examine where solar businesses can implement them in their business strategy.
1. Paid Media or Earned Media
- Advertising: When considering advertising to promote their products, solar businesses have to pay for the ad space and enquire when the ad will air or be published.
- Public relations: With public relations, all you need to get is free publicity for your business. Here, you will be more focused on getting free media exposure for your business as well as products or services – from news conferences to press releases.
2. Creative Control vs No Control
- Advertising: Since you are paying for the ad space, you have complete control over the ad creativity, the bits of information about the product or service, and many more.
- Public relations: With PR, you have no control over how the news media will present your information. Sometimes, they might decide not to use your information at all! Besides, the news media is not obligated to cover your event or publish your press release based on request.
3. Service Life
- Advertising: Because you pay for the ad space, you can run your ads for quite a long time. However, the service should adhere to your budget. Generally, An ad has a longer service life than a press release.
- Public relations: Your press release about the new solar product, company information, or events will be published only once.
- Advertising: Customers are aware of the intention of placing an ad – to sell something.
- Public relations: With PR, customers can understand the purpose of reading news articles written by you about the solar product or events as your information has been viewed by the news media, that holds great value.
- Advertising: When it comes to advertising, you get to test your creativity with managing new ad campaigns.
- Public relations: In public relations, you need to have a basic news sense to spread your product or service information to various news outlets. Here, you have to come up with unique ideas and written materials that are intriguing to the news media.
6. Target Audience
- Advertising: Advertising is all about your target audience. You would want to advertise your product on the right media source.
- Public relations: For publishing your press release, you need to have a unique human interest angle to let editors or news directors use your information in their news outlets.
7. Writing Style
- Advertising: Advertising is more about Call To Action (CTA) – Buy this product! Act now! Call today! Use such action words to encourage customers to buy your solar product.
- Public relations: The writing style in PR is practical, straight to the point and should answer the 5 Ws of any solar product:
- Who is the company?
- What is the story?
- Why should I care?
- Where are they located?
- When will the offer end?
- Irrelevant commercial messages in your PR will be edited out by the editor or news directors of the new media.
How To Use Public Relations For Your Solar Business?
Public relations means having a basic understanding of how to create an impactful story about your product/service that includes a human interest angle. There are a variety of ways you can use PR for your solar business.
Writing a News Story
- One of the most common ways to use PR is by considering a press release. A press release is a method of sharing your solar business’ story with news outlets. The main purpose of press releases is to promote a product/service or event and notify the media about the same in hopes that they will spread the word. A press release has a strict, no-nonsense news format that every solar business has to follow.
You can use press release when you are:
- Introducing new solar products and technology in the market
- Opening a new solar business in a new location
- Revealing price change of solar products
- Proclaiming the expansion of your solar business
- Hiring a new executive or CEO
Bonus PR tips!
Press Release Writing Tips
- Headline: Make a clear explanation about why the press release is important and interesting.
- Contact: Mention the contact details of your solar company.
- Location and Date: Mention the place where it originates from and the present date.
- Body copy: A snippet of the important information or news you want to convey
- Boilerplate: Mention the name of your solar company, the date of foundation, mission, the products, and major awards or honours.
Checking or Following Up On a News Story
- Here’s another way to use PR for your solar business – checking or following up on the latest news stories related to the solar industry. One of the major benefits of using this technique is that solar businesses can build an opportunity to capitalise on their popularity. Additionally, solar businesses should also keep tabs on the breaking news concerning topics related to solar industries. Journalists and reporters usually approach solar industry experts who can offer their expertise in such matters, thus increasing your popularity.
Following The Latest Trends
- Apart from following up with the latest news, you should also leverage the benefit of the current trends in the solar industry. You can mention the latest administration, legislation, or hearings related to the solar industry in your PR stories which will educate the target audience about your knowledge and product. Additionally, you can also consider following social media trends related to the solar industry.
Best Websites, Magazines, & News Publications For Solar Business
Here are some of the websites, magazines, and new publications where you can share your press releases, get the latest solar industry trends, and learn more about the solar news from the solar industry leaders.
- American Solar Energy Society
- Greentech Media
- PV Magazine
- Renewable Energy World
- Solar Builder Magazine
- Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
- Solar Industry Magazine
- Solar Power World
- Solar Magazine
Regardless of the business type, every solar company should consider public relations to promote their product and to create a wider reach. Additionally, they should also set aside a budget for public relations, especially smaller solar businesses.
The Editorial Team at SolarFeeds is made up of knowledgeable solar industry insiders and experts who have a passion to share valuable, helpful and educational information. Aiming at becoming the best place to learn solar, the publication partners with industry thought leaders, journalists and influencers. If you want to publish your articles on SolarFeeds Magazine, click here.