It’s common knowledge that PR is helpful in growing your business and an important part of ‘getting yourself out there’. People know publicity is always good to have. But a lot of the time, it seems like the average small business owner is a little stumped as to what exactly PR can really do for their business, in terms of actual specific benefits. It’s important to understand some of the benefits of PR so that you can determine the best ways to spend your time and resources in order to achieve what you want. Below are some of my favorite benefits of PR, in no particular order.
1 Spread your message, the way you want | Probably the most common reason people want PR for their business is because it is the number one way to let the wider world know what you’re doing and why. The ultimate bottom line is you want to get more customers, and one way to do that is to reach as many potential customers as possible, by getting attention for what you’re doing. Additionally, through PR you are able to reach the people you want, with the message you want, in a way that resonates with them. This is contrasted with, say, advertising, which allows you to spread exactly the message you want, but it comes with a (usually) steep price, and it’s always obvious that you paid for it– with PR the stories you get are always earned, so the audience knows you’re actually being endorsed by the media outlet and therefore consider it more reputable.
2 Position yourself as an expert | Let’s face it- if you own a business you are an expert in your field. It may not always feel like it, but think about it: you’re living and breathing your field every day. You’re being paid to do it (and hopefully making a living off of it)! Some days you may feel like you’re making it all up as you go along, but when it comes down to it, you know so much more about your field than anyone who is not running a business like yours. See? You are an expert! Once people start seeing your name in the media, and see articles about your field where you are the person providing quotes and insight, they start to see you as an expert. This gives you more credibility and positions you for further success.
3 Build a relationship with your audience | They don’t call it public relations for no reason. The whole point is to create relationships with the publics, ie your audiences. By reaching the relevant audiences where they are, and consistency providing information that they will find important and interesting, you are building a relationship with them- even if they will never meet you in person. It’s no secret that people are more likely to trust, buy from, and do business with the businesses that they feel they know and like.
4 Shape the story | This goes beyond your brand story. We’re talking about the big picture here. One of the smartest uses of PR is to shape ‘the story’ in a larger sense. It allows you to determine and define what is important in your field and what people should care to know about. You can use PR to draw certain things to the forefront of the news for your industry (and these would be the things that your company is specifically excelling at, of course!). By pitching certain topics to the media, or by taking control of the conversation while talking to media about a specific story, you can help determine what the media will cover to a certain extent. This means you can make sure that your audience are learning about the most important aspects of your business or industry or issue, which is so important.
There are so many benefits of PR, and they all work together so much. Most important to keep in mind, is that none of these things happen overnight. But with consistent PR for your business, you can achieve all of them, plus more. And it will set you and your business up for ongoing success.