Whether you’re a new small business wanting to generate some awareness about your products or services or have been on the scene for a while and want to refresh your image, public relations can be one of the most effective ways to get potential customers and clients to learn more about you and your company, as a business owner.
Creating a solid reputation and communicating the right messages to your key publics (media, customers, communities, clients, stakeholders, board members, investors, etc.), helps to create a stronger brand as part of a strategic marketing strategy. Large companies who understand the major impact various components of PR can have on their businesses, generally also understand the necessity and value of working with PR professionals, but small business can benefit from working with these professionals also! These are just a few ways that PR can help your small business:
Generate Awareness/Build Visibility:
You can’t sell your products or services to customers, if no one knows who you are and what you sell, so building visibility for your brand through public relations should be an important component of your marketing strategy and business planning.
Leveraging publicity is one aspect of building that awareness and visibility. Helping a company gain attention by securing media coverage with local, regional or national print, broadcast or digital news outlets through news stories involving newsworthy happenings at a company, is essentially what publicity does. For example, introducing a new product, opening a new restaurant, hiring a new CEO, outpacing the competition, etc., helps create public awareness and attention around a brand.
Assist with Communicating with Current/Potential Customers:
Public relations can also extend and enhance the effectiveness of marketing campaigns by helping companies effectively communicate with its customers via one sided and two-sided communications. One-sided communications is when a company utilizes traditional forms of marketing, such as advertising online, on radio or in print media. By doing so, they are telling current and potential customers not only what they have to offer through their products and services, but why their products and services are the best option to purchase, as compared to competitors. Two-sided communications on the other hand, is when a company communicates with its audiences through social media, surveys, gatherings, etc., giving customers a chance to offer feedback and communicate with them directly. This helps businesses garner relationships with their customers, which in turn helps to begin building trust and loyalty.
Public Relations Helps Increase A Company’s Credibility:
Speaking of building trust and loyalty, ensuring that PR is a key component of a company’s marketing strategy helps a company build and enhance its reputation, which lends to building its credibility as an expert and leader in its specific industry. A business can leave potential sales on the table without having the trust of its customers, so building trust with its various publics is critical to the success of a business.
This includes leveraging the components of publicity and reputation management, which also incorporates maximizing the skill of developing and leveraging media relationships and the effective use of social media, to a company’s benefit. Again, this is where a marketing and communications professional can really help to bridge the trust-gap. They do this through the strategic execution of various tools and techniques like connecting businesses with key community influencers, developing thought leadership or opinion pieces, developing relationships with media representatives, etc.
These are just a few ways in which PR can help your small business. Unfortunately, too many small businesses don’t budget for PR as part of their business growth planning, but it continues to remain an essential component of effectively marketing businesses of any size.
Norma Stanley is president/CEO of E.E.E. Marketing Group, Inc., an Atlanta-based multicultural marketing communications and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consulting company.