Does your business have a story to tell? Have you developed a new product or service that you want to build awareness of and reach your audiences? Are you involved in activities that are newsworthy but you aren’t sure how to make it relevant for the media?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to start thinking about how public relations (PR) can amplify your business and grow your reputation.
How can PR benefit your business?
Although it is part of the marketing mix, PR plays a distinct role. While marketing involves promoting a specific product or service with the aim of achieving sales, PR is more about maintaining the reputation of the business and building relationships with the media.
While the “traditional” PR route still relies on press releases to tell your target publications your news, adding content marketing (blog posts, social media and even video) is no longer an add-on: it is an integral part of any public relations campaign.
Don’t think PR is just for corporates or big business, either. If you have a small business and are trying to grow it, then it’s just as important to include a public relations strategy to your plans, because it helps to build trust and credibility, giving you much-needed solid foundations that can help to position you for further success.
And because PR is 90% more effective than advertising –according to a 2014 study by Nielsen – it is a powerful tool that cannot be ignored.
The more positive stories you gain from earned media coverage, which is what you achieve when your story is printed in your target publications, the stronger your reputation becomes. That means it’s important to keep building on your PR, to ensure your name becomes synonymous with the service or product you want to be known for.
Should you start doing PR now?
So while there isn’t a specific time when you should start to do PR, you might want to consider it if you find yourself in any of the following five situations:
You have a new product or service you want to raise awareness of, but there is no one in your team who can create a campaign around it.
Your senior management team are starting to field more calls and email enquiries from the media and are struggling to focus on their day job.
You need to reach a new audience or reconnect with your existing customers but your tactics aren’t working.
You have something interesting – and newsworthy – to say about the sector you operate in. Offering your expertise to your target media could result in you becoming an authority in your field and a go-to spokesperson.
You are looking at long-term growth and recognise you need to invest in boosting the positioning of your business.
A good PR agency will help you to clarify what your aims are, work with you to gain your voice in a crowded market and advise on what will work for you now, in the medium term and in the long term. It will also advise on the best tone and style for your audience.