6 Reasons Your Small Business Needs a Public Relations Campaign

Most people have heard of public relations, however, they’re not entirely sure what it entails. In fact, ask twenty different small business owners to give you the definition of public relations and you’ll receive twenty different answers.

Here is my definition of public relations: the process of building awareness, visibility and positive interactions with your prospective clients and customers through a variety of communication channels and tools.

Thus, in a nutshell, PR involves your overall planning and execution strategy with the media in general. Not only is public relations about bringing you visibility and exposure through TV, radio and newspapers, it’s also about how you present yourself and your company to the world in general.

That being said, public relations still remains elusive to most small business. Even though it’s incredibly simple and accessible to the small business owner, PR is one of the most under-utilized marketing tools.

So, why in the world does your small business need to tap into public relations? You are soon going to discover that public relations remains a marketing tool that entails very little risk, is incredible effective and 100% free.

As a small business owner, one of the most accessible marketing strategies available to you is creating a comprehensive public relations campaign.

Here are six important reasons why your small business must engage in public relations:

1. You Are a Small Business. When you engage in public relations you position your small business as a much larger entity. As your business receives coverage through radio, blogs and other print publications, your audience assumes that you are a large, established organization. There is no better tool for a little fish in a big sea than some good PR coverage.

2. No One Knows About Your Small Business. One of the most frustrating components for the small business owner is the constant problem of trying to establish visibility for yourself and your company. Public relations brings you that needed exposure quickly and efficiently. As you execute your PR plan, you create a “massive visibility campaign” for your small business.

3. Getting The “Word Out” Is the Most Important Factor. Unfortunately, in today’s world, the quality of your product or service isn’t the most important factor in attaining new customers and clients. (Although quality is an incredibly important factor in keeping existing customers and clients.) If your prospects and customers are going to do business with you, they must be able to find you. Therefore, divide your time between tweaking and perfecting your products and services and “getting the word” out to your prospects.

4. Traditional Marketing Isn’t As Effective. Direct advertising methods such as TV and radio commercials aren’t as effective as they were several years ago. Today’s prospects just don’t trust traditional forms of advertising and are much more willing to do business with companies that they know and trust. A good PR campaign can create hundreds of positive stories about you and your company.

5. You Have Competitors. Virtually every small business owner has dozens, if not hundreds of competitors. One of the best ways to outshine your competition is to seize PR opportunities such as radio, print and online coverage. Chances are that your competitors haven’t put together a comprehensive PR campaign, so you might as well use this to your advantage.

6. It’s Free. Obviously, one of the most attractive parts of public relations is that it’s a free marketing tool for the small business owner on a shoestring marketing budget. And, as a all savvy shoestring business owners know, there’s no better marketing tool than a free marketing tool.

Therefore, make sure to include a public relations campaign as part of your overall marketing strategy. Your business will thank you.

A Fashion Public Relations Representative For You

Fashion is something that is ever changing and it can be difficult to keep up with current trends. If you are part of a company that sells clothes and accessories that you may want to find a Fashion Public Relations company to suit your individual needs.

Public relations is also known by the shorthand PR. When people think of it they usually think of a something going wrong that needs to be dealt with, whether it is someone bad mouthing their own products or getting involved in a controversial court case. This particular type of PR is also referred to as crisis management. However it is just one aspect of the work of a representative.

A lot of companies offering this kind of representation and you should be able to compare between the different ones on offer to see which is best for you. This is not as simple as looking at a typical product comparison as it is not always obvious who suits your particular needs. A sensible approach will help you find someone that fits the image of your company.

The size of the firm is the first thing to consider. Your budget may restrict you from getting certain firms on board. A larger company may not necessarily be better as in some cases this can mean more bureaucracy and a less personal approach. Smaller firms will not only be cheaper but also more likely to offer a more hands on style of representation. If they are new it is even more likely that they will be keen to impress.

When looking at possible representation look beyond the website and pay close attention to the case studies and media placements they produce. Does it suit the image that you are going for? Will it appeal to your target audience? The advertising for women in their early twenties will be different to men in their late twenties and so forth.

During an initial contact with a potential representative be sure to ask them how they see the brand. Do not tell them who you think the target market is, instead see how they react and whether it matches or your ideas. If their ideas are completely different to yours then it is unlikely they will be a positive match and offer the best representation.

Some firms will specialize in certain areas. For example some will be stronger at online campaigns whereas others will be better at creating print or television campaigns. If you feel your target audience are more likely to look at magazines than online then you are better off finding someone who can do better magazine adverts and focus your attention on that rather on an online campaign.

Choosing the right Fashion Public Relations representative is a personal choice. Ideally you should try to meet them in person to be able to discuss your needs and to see if they have that communication skill. A good representative should have the communication skills to be able to pitch to you in person!

5 Public Relations Myths Debunked

Myth #1: You need “contacts” to garner publicity.

My Response: This is one of the most common fallacies about PR. Why? The reason is simple. I suspect it’s because many PR firms tout their media connections when offering their services to a potential client.

Media contacts do help sometimes. However, you can accomplish your goals without them. A lot depends on the story you have to offer, the angle of your story, the timing, and the relevancy of your information or area of expertise. If your idea or pitch lacks the essential ingredients for an article or broadcast segment, you are unlikely to get coverage. Each time you gain media exposure, add the editor’s name to your database. Don’t forget to send a short and sincere thank you note.

Myth #2: You can’t buy PR with Advertising.

My Response: I dare to disagree with the above statement. Sometimes you CAN buy publicity with advertising, but not with high-quality publications. Small magazines with little editorial integrity may give advertisers preferential treatment. However, the quality of responses might not be worth of your time and effort.

Myth #3: PR promotions do not work without follow up.

My Response: I am convinced that follow up is important. Some busy editors or reporters can easily overlook your materials. Therefore, your follow up call or email may get them to consider your story. That being said, a well-written and well-targeted press release will do the trick.

Myth #4: Editors want to be wined and dined.

My Response: It is totally unnecessary! Of course you may come across an editor who will gladly agree to have lunch with you at a posh restaurant or accept tickets to a basketball game. In most cases, though, editors prefer to keep PR sources at arm’s length. A simple thank you note or respectful attitude will suffice.

Myth #5: Publicity will bring you tons of new clients, customers, or patients.

My Response: Even if you get great press coverage, it doesn’t mean that people will rush out to buy your product or use your service. Here is what PR does. It creates a favorable image or perception about your business. It enhances your status and makes you look more professional and trustworthy. People might remember your name after reading about it in a newspaper. So when a need arises, they are more likely to reach out to you. One PR expert says: ” Everyone has an impression about your business. Without publicity, that impression might be a zero awareness.”

Final Thoughts: Publicity has to be managed carefully. Media research, follow up, writing, checking — it all takes time and supervision. The key to success is regular media coverage, so when your prospects think of what you offer, it’s your company and not your competitor that gets the call or email.

Angela Kambarian is a marketing strategist, public relations consultant and copywriter. If you have any questions or comments about the article or need help with your marketing, please visit http://www.kambarian.com or call (516) 889-8636