Hey Small Business Owners and Executives – Don’t Forget the PR!
I wrote an article that was published several years ago with the title “Don’t forget the PR.” This was a well-received piece, however with the changes taking place in marketing and technology I wanted to revisit the subject. It also became clear to me recently at several speaking engagements where I was talking about personal marketing and mentioned PR to attendees; only 10 percent of those in attendance had ever been interviewed by the media. I was not surprised about this and it was not surprising that only about 1 percent of small businesspeople have any kind of PR strategy. Let’s explore PR and why everyone in business should have PR as part of their marketing strategy.
Why public relations? For today’s post, I am focusing on the media relations and positioning elements of public relations. Media relations are, in its most simplistic form for business, about securing positive media coverage for a business, individual, product or service. Media relations can also include providing authored articles to blogs or publications.
Securing media coverage is important, here are seven reasons why:
- Positioning – Media coverage positions the company, individual, product or service in a positive way. Media coverage is an unbiased third party endorsement. Coverage is not purchased like advertising; it is earned and has tremendous value.
- Awareness – Media coverage or an authored article in a trade publication builds awareness with a niche audience or with a mass audience. Either way, the message reaches an audience which contains prospects or referral sources.
- Competition – If you’re not part of media stories that relate to your industry, your competitors will be. You lose in several ways when your competitors get the coverage that you should get as these are lost opportunities for business, result in reduced awareness of your business and your competitors will be seen as the experts and not you.
- Reputation – Your greatest asset and one of the greatest assets of a company is its reputation. Being in the media and being recognized as a thought leader will enhance your reputation and this is a competitive advantage.
- Marketing assets – Every print or online article, news video interview or radio interview is an opportunity for you and your brand to shine. These materials can be shared on social media creating quality content; copies are added to your website and marketing portfolio, these assets are also added to sales presentations and project proposals. These materials provide you with the ability to differentiate yourself, your products, services and business. These assets, when used properly and regularly, give you a competitive advantage.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – The more often you or your business are in the media, the greater impact this will have on positive search engine optimization and online searching. Every online story creates a new place where your brand lives and provides an opportunity for people to find your brand and learn about who you are and what you stand for.
- Insurance – Positive media coverage built up over time can be invaluable should a crisis impact you or your business. Positive coverage allows you to control the narrative and build relationships. With a good reputation, customers and others will recognize who you are and what you stand for. This is critical in the event of a serious crisis. Having relationships with the media also plays a part during a crisis. Knowing members of the media and having the experience speaking with them can help reduce the damage of a crisis.These are some of the reasons why PR/Media Relations is important for a small business and for individuals. For those who work with businesses and who may not be owners, PR is also an important marketing tool that can be used to build business, create job security, advance your career, enhance your standing in your industry as a leader and support the growth of the business that you work for/with. In some instances, businesses do not allow staff members to pursue media coverage. This is a challenge, however when you can make the case that media coverage for you will enhance the bottom line and will prevent competitors for securing the coverage, you have two strong arguments that management will have to recognize. If you are an expert and leader, you owe it to your career to pursue media coverage to build your brand. As a manager or owner, create rules and a strategy that will allow team members to pursue media coverage that is in line with business goals.
Securing media coverage can be a challenge. However, with effort and energy it can be done. Part two of this blog will discuss some of the strategies you can use to obtain coverage for yourself or business.