The role of public relations (PR) in an organization’s marketing program profile
One powerful marketing strategy for a small business owner is public relations (PR).
In simplest terms, PR is working with the news media to have them publish/post a company’s news, with two objectives: (1) increased brand awareness and visibility for the company and (2) showcasing the company’s expertise.
And, for the news media outlets which participate, their goal is providing additional relevant knowledge and information for their readers/viewers.
The major elements of a PR campaign include:
- News releases: announcements about a company’s ongoing events. These can include new hires, promotions, conferences or trade shows attended, awards (trade association or local chambers, for example), company anniversaries, new products offered, and charitable “good works” that a business does in the community.
- Source letter: This is an introduction via email, often followed up by a telephone conversation, introducing a business owner as a resource to writers, bloggers, webmasters, magazine editors, radio/TV producers. The objective of this tactic is to acquaint media people with good local sources so that if they are working on a story and need informed comment, they’ll have someone to call. And, when a business owner is quoted in an article, he/she is seen as an authority or leader in the field.
- Features/profiles: Articles about an organization with a decision maker. These can be in industry journals, a local business journal, a regional daily newspaper, or interview on a radio or TV station. There are also a number of business websites which may also be open to such opportunities.
- Thought leadership or guest articles: Articles in outlets which showcase a company’s knowledge or position on an issue. For example, the president of an IT firm might write a piece on “Ten threats to your company’s infrastructure and what to do about them.” The articles can be placed in business journals or on websites. Or, if that IT firm is interested in breaking into the construction industry, an article in a construction journal might be the perfect way to have thousands of readers learn what that business owner knows. And having that visibility on display can make the sales process a lot easier when a prospect says, “I read your article.”
- Events: If a business or school opens a new office, celebrates an anniversary or has some other major occurrence going on, having a ribbon-cutting with local and community officials is a nice way to introduce the business to a new audience. And it makes a great post-event press release.
- Utilizing these placements on social media: Every time a business secures publicity, that link (whether it’s a thought leadership article, an interview, or a press release) makes a great opportunity to post the link to a LinkedIn profile, as well as Twitter, and Facebook. Also, placements are great conversation starters in a company enewsletter or email blast.
Securing publicity is a great first step toward a higher profile. A media placement, such as an interview in an industry journal, or a thought leadership piece that makes it into a regional daily newspaper, is a great opportunity to post a link to the article on the company webpage, a LinkedIn profile, and on Twitter and Facebook. The more posts, the better. That way, when a company is googled, the viewer will see numerous links to articles and it will serve to elevate the company on search engines plus provide a sense that the business is a leader.
For the business seeking to expand its profile, PR can be a powerful and persuasive way to communicate a company’s message. It is, all too often, an underutilized form of marketing that is among the most effective tools at the business owner’s disposal. Good luck and good publicity!