What is Public Relations and Why Do I Need It?

The Evolution of Public Relations

By definition, the field of public relations is the professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company, organization or a famous person. Often used synonymously with the concept of marketing, the two share similar objectives, but also some distinctions. Together, they complement one another and serve the ultimate goal of increasing brand awareness and overall success of a company. The art of public relations, or PR, has evolved along with technological advances. Prior to the internet, it was more often used to announce an important development. Today, though still serving that purpose, it has equally become a way to engage and build relationships with customers.

Yes, You Do Need PR, Even for Your Small Business

Good PR management is crucial to any business, big or small. Typically, small business owners are preoccupied with sales. It makes sense that when an owner is looking at the abundant cost of overhead, increasing sales is a top priority, as it should be. When looking at ways to grow a company, it’s important to look at the bigger picture too. If you’re seeing your business from strictly a marketing perspective, you lose sight of the fact that a great news story is often more valuable than a strategically placed advertisement. PR is just that, public relations. It’s about how you want the public to view your business. You need both marketing and PR to boost your brand success.

Avoid Being Overly Self Promoting

PR is considered a third party endorsement. The consumer views media coverage with more credibility than they do advertisement. Buyers see advertisements as simply a way for a company to sell their product. Advertising should be used to get the word out about an upcoming sale, for example. It’s great when used strategically, but when used alone, it might not yield the best results. A great PR effort can often get you the positive boost you’re looking for at a fraction of the cost of advertisement. PR and advertisement, when used together, pack a dynamic punch. When the media talks about your product or service in a positive manner, it elevates the trustworthiness of your image. With that being said, the media will not endorse a company directly, so it’s important to find ways to get the press interested without being overtly promotional.

Give Back to the Community

Getting involved in charitable works is one of the greatest ways to create a positive image for your business. Invite the media to cover a fundraiser your company is hosting to raise money for your local animal shelter.  A consistent PR campaign will always highlight the good things going on in your organization. Think outside of the box. Look at ways you can create a positive buzz about your business. If you’re the owner of an art studio, offer a free watercolor class at a local elementary school for children who might not otherwise be exposed to the arts. Everyone loves a heartwarming news story. As an owner, not only do you get the satisfaction of helping others, you also might get some attention from a news outlet, a win no matter what.

Information is Key

Create a buzz about your organization by offering information about a hot button issue. If home burglaries are on the rise in your community and you own a security company, offer tips on ways for home owners to protect themselves. Whether it’s a media story or social media post, you are letting the public know you care about more than just a sale. This gets your name out while providing valuable information that people want to know.

Engage Your Audience

Using social media is yet another effective tool in your public relations campaign. With over 70% of consumers going to Facebook before buying, the numbers speak for themselves. Use the opportunity to engage your audience. It’s necessary for your communication to be consistent with your overall message and brand. Most importantly, when customers leave feedback, always respond positively!

Let Chatter Marketing do the Heavy Lifting

Great ideas are invaluable in creating the perfect PR campaign. Often, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. The angle is everything. Whether it’s crafting your message on social media or putting together the perfect news story, our team of professionals has the know-how to ensure you are always putting your best foot forward. Pull up a chair and let Chatter Marketing tell you what we can do to create a little “chatter” about your business.