Is PR Important to Small/Medium Businesses?
As a small or medium-size business owner/executive do you consider public relations to be something your business needs and uses or does the term "PR" or "Public Relations" make you think of major corporations and celebrities?
So the answer here is that no matter what size your company, your business plan should absolutely include a public relations strategy!
Think about the very nature of the words here... Do you plan to have relations with the public? If so, then you need have a PR strategy and going even further, it needs to be fully-integrated into everything else you're doing to grow your business. Do you realize that every type of communication between your company and the public (aka your customers) has both a "personality" and a "tone of voice"? This is what's considered a company's "Public Image". The word "image" here doesn't just mean visually but anything that is communicated between the company and the public. This is where a savvy PR professional can help you develop branding guidelines that will form the right way to communicate (not the logo and color scheme) your company's public image.
So often, when evaluating business plans, I see there are line items in there for advertising, marketing, and other expenses; but nothing for public relations. The amazing thing about PR, although it will cost to have a professional help with it, is the value of free publicity and media relations as a result!
If you are not including public relations in your playbook, like so many small and medium-size business owners fail to do, you need to start now!
With the right PR, you can benefit in a very long-term way, from just a few of the right pieces of publicity!
While public relations concentrates a lot on what is called earned media, the real power of a solid PR strategy is when you can combine earned, owned, paid, and shared media.
Now for those small and medium-size business that are currently using PR in their business... First of all - Bravo! But are you getting the full benefits or do you even know if you are? Using PR is not enough, you need to be able to measure the results of your efforts. While they say "there's no bad publicity", there are certainly bad PR campaigns. Pretty much everything you might do in a public relations campaign has the ability to be measured if you know what those metrics are.
And that leaves me to my closing bit... If you are using a digital approach to PR, and you absolutely should be, then everything will have metrics in which you can measure. This is why when choosing a public relations agency, it is vitally important that the agency you select has a digital background and is fully-integrated in all their efforts to provide you the best possible outcomes from your public relations campaigns.