Even though the art of public relations has such an integral and important role in the marketing of a business, the general public including the owners of new and small businesses, have a limited and in many cases very vague understanding of what PR actually is and why it’s needed for their business.
Most new and small business owners know they need to promote their business in some way and have latched on to growing their social media connections as the panacea of communicating to the public at large. There are also those who think that PR people are all just publicists who keep a media “buzz” going about everything going on in their lives, like seen with certain celebrities in the film, music and TV industries.
Yes, PR representatives are good at promoting their client’s businesses by securing media coverage, but the work involved in effective PR incorporates so much more than just publicity. It’s more about persuading both internal and external audiences through unpaid or earned methods. These are trusted sources, who are not paid as they are with advertising.
As storytellers, PR people help to clients to protect, enhance or build their reputations through traditional media, social media and various written or visual communications that is self-produced. Identifying and honing in on an organization’s positive messages and turning those messages into positive stories, is a large part of the job, but it’s not the only part. As such, publicity is but one aspect of the many valuable communications services PR practitioners offer.
Working closely with corporate leadership and marketing departments, the following are some examples of marketing and communications activities and tools public relations practitioners leverage on behalf of their companies or clients:
2.Writing, distributing press releases and pitching stories to media
3.Develop media kits
5.Special events creation and coordination
7.Connecting key influencers and expanding business contacts for clients
8.Community relations development and execution
9.Conducting market research for the firm, its messaging or on its competitors
10.Writing white papers for leadership positioning
11.Creating compelling social media content, for example, blogs, website copy, etc.
12.Developing/executing crisis communications strategies
13.Developing/executing promotions for social media promotions and preparing responses for negative online posts
14.Media training/prepping for effective interviewing
15.Writing newsletters, magazine advertorials, opinion pieces
16.Audio/video production development/supervision
17.Develop and place public service announcements
18.Developing editorial calendars
19.Develop annual reports
21.Reputation management, etc.
As you can see from this list, clearly, PR practitioners do more than just manage publicity and can bring considerable value to a small business, when its full scope of services are allowed to be incorporated and maximized. Of course, using all of these options is not necessarily an inexpensive proposition, so securing companies or consultants that work on a project-by-project basis rather than monthly retainers, may be a more affordable option.
At some point in their development most growing businesses will need assistance with many of these communications services, outside of just publicity. So now that you know more about what PR can offer, consider taking a look at your business growth strategies to see if your business is getting the full benefit and value of working with a PR practitioner.
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.