USING PUBLIC RELATIONS TO MARKET YOUR BUSINESS


Public relations is the art of engaging the public through the media and influencing opinion. For many companies it is an essential part of their marketing strategy. For others, it can supplement a strong marketing/ advertising push to create a comprehensive external communications efforts. Examples of public relations include press releases, social media, answering customer inquiries and most importantly, engaging the media (newspapers, magazines, television etc.).

A good public relations expert can help you create a unified message that helps your marketing & business development. They can help you define your product or service from the customer's point-of-view, get you on the speaker's panel at trade shows and conventions, get articles about your firm in the relevant trade publications, help with collateral material development. An agent should also make sure your presentation is professional, with excellent support materials, so that your message, like your photographs are in focus, instead of a blur.

Don't expect PR contacts to get you ink with weak, boring or untimely material. Editors are bombarded with puff stories in fancy press kits. Make sure you have a story interesting enough to stand out. Even if you think you don't have a story to tell, it may be worth your while to interview a few firms to see if they can suggest ways to promote your business you had not considered.

Get the agency on the management team. Make them part of your strategy at the planning stage of products and programs. They can add helpful ideas and steer you away from policies that create expensive problems. According to Niehaus, "One mistake too many companies make is not bringing an agency in early enough for announcements. Launching products or services takes time and many companies begin the work months in advance."

Don't expect too much too soon for too little money. A PR firm will likely need a couple of months to do their spade work and a couple more months will pass before any media results can be expected. In the meanwhile, they should be helping with trade publications and collateral materials. Results will come even more slowly unless the agency has the full cooperation of your staff and access to the executives on an as-needed basis. Also, the better job you do of positioning your product or service, the more the agency can concentrate on getting results.

Do expect to have instant access to your account executive or at least be able to reach someone at the agency knowledgeable enough to help you. Meet the principals of the agency and discuss how often they will be getting together with you and what your expectations are from the relationship. Expect clear, explicit plans once you get started. The plan should tell how they will be penetrating your target media, planning for special events, developing targeted collateral materials and accessing your most appropriate markets.


Is Public Relations Right For You And Your Business?
PR is the most affordable form of marketing. Unlike advertising, which can require the hiring of designers, content writers and creative directors, public relations is a much more focused effort that revolves around engaging the media. PR typically requires a smaller staff and thus is far more inexpensive. Smaller companies tend to look at public relations first and then once they get larger, will begin to advertise.

PR Vs Advertising
PR is also more widely used than advertising. Many types of businesses are not traditional users of advertising for a variety of reasons. A law firm, some smaller financial institutions and other industries that have an explicit or implicit ban on advertising will see public relations as the only means they are allowed to use market themselves to a wider audience. Other industries traditionally avoid advertising simply because it is seen as too expensive and rely on PR as their primary means of marketing.

Potential Negatives Of PR
While PR is generally affordable, it isn’t always the best way to market your business. Some products and services are really best left to advertising. If you have a window cleaning service, for example, an article in the local paper might be helpful, but a campaign of flyers around the neighborhood would probably be better.

PR can also cause damage your business if done improperly. Since it is conducted through a neutral third party, the media, you may be confronted by uncomfortable questions about your business. Be prepared before you engage the media to answer any and all confrontational queries.

Start Out With Public Relations, Then Move On To Other Mediums
PR relations would mean contacting local media and alerting them to the existence of your business. You may want to hold events that also showcase your business. These events can bring in media attention and make the public aware of your existence more directly. Whatever you do, do it with the same careful consideration you’ve put behind every other aspect of your business and you’ll be far more likely to succeed!
The use of PR has turned into one of the most important aspects when it comes to a business and its performance. The better you do with the PR, the better your audience sees your company as a whole. This process handles everything that your audience would like and wouldn’t.

This is a process in which the interaction and the belief of the audience to your company or brand deal most important. This is actually used to preserve online public image or reputation which deems to be a very important aspect in a business. Now, how does one effectively work on leveraging the use of PR in this process?

Use Traditional Media
Usually, the use of television, radio, magazines and other offline stuff comes with a big amount of budget to be pulled out successfully. But the money always gets the job done. 

Use Social Media
Social media is considered as one of the most interactive and effective ways of developing a PR system. To leverage in social media, you might want to consider using a couple of things:

• Network - social networking sites such as Facebook has a lot to offer for leverage. You can use your connections there to initiate sharing & support between your friends and friends’ friends & other potential audience.

• Communities - there are social media websites out there that has a particular niche and gets a group of people sharing a common interest. This is a good opportunity for you to locate that community, so you can pinpoint the audience you need. PR are all about interaction with people. So it is important that you interact with the right audience.

Distribute Newsletters to Audience
Effective public relations can be done through online newsletters. This helps your audience to be aware of the happenings regarding your company as well as the things that might benefit them. You can put videos, photos, articles or any good content for the newsletter to be easily shared and distributed by your audience.

Create a Website
Come on! Let’s face it. A business without a business is not competitive and that is the truth. Creating a website or blog would actually get your business competitive enough to get up the food chain especially when it comes to public relations. A website dedicated for your company dedicated to handle audience inquiries and concerns is a great way to leverage things in the internet. With an easy website name, it serves like a calling card in a large scale. It also provides added income if the page gets high traffic.

Be the Reporter
A reporter is always curious, hungry for new information and broadcasts the great news. This is how you should be when you are leveraging the use of PR. This helps you reach more people that could be interested with your brand or company.
Leverage is pretty easy when you know the concept and how it is done. For now, you can base your tactics on these given tips and for sure you’ll get to know the bliss you need for public relations.
Good PR work, including press coverage, goodwill generated, and increased impact on public perception of your firm can be powerfully effective. According to media experts, articles are believed and remembered four to six times more than advertising. So, you can get a big bang for the buck with PR if you have a good story to tell.

Events as a publicity tool has been used as an integral part of the PR business for years and can be far more effective than bombarding editors with press releases. Many companies focus on staging events mainly because their products get lost trying to get undeserved publicity. Events, on the other hand, create great photo opportunities if timely and of interest to the community.


USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media is not the end-all, be-all of your business. But what social media can do is make you a better company by allowing you to listen, react and build faster and more efficiently than ever before. Below you’ll find 18 quick reasons that your SMB may want to get involved in social media. These are the benefits you can achieve faster in social media than most other mediums.

What can your business achieve through social media?

1.     Visibility: Engaging in social media and blogging on a steady basis helps me achieve constant visibility with my audience. By participating in conversations, sharing daily food for thought and making myself & my brand part of their day, I stay top of mind when someone is looking for a social media agency or an SEO consulting company. Don’t discount the power of that - of creating a visible brand.

2.  Brand yourself as a resource: All that being visible and sharing content? It’s a waste of time! Why bother doing it? Well, because by doing it you establish yourself as a resource. You become the “go-to” person for that topic and the voice that people trust in your industry. That’s how you brand yourself as an expert in your niche and make your company the one that others seek out and turn to. We trust those we know and those we see others trusting.

3.  Easily get speaking gigs: Who do conference organizers, reporters or your local chamber of commerce seek out when looking for speakers or sources? The people in the industry who are both trusted and visible. Thanks to social media, your SMB can quickly become both.

4.     Build a community: By making yourself available, reaching out to customers and sharing information, you strengthen your community. You form new connections, allow community members to meet one another and create a deeper dialogue by increasing the number of voice.

5.    Decrease time to conversion: Do you know what happens when someone from social media lands on your site to make a purchase? They do it faster. They need less convincing, less hand-holding and less actual talking to you. They feel that way because they already know you. They read your blog, follow you on Twitter, get your deals via Facebook. You’re not a stranger. You’re their friend - someone they trust and feel comfortable doing business with.

6. Highlight your product: Social media offers an additional avenue to show off and talk about your product in a friendly and informal way. You get to highlight what you offer & what makes you awesome in normal conversation without coming across “salesy” or too promotional. You also have the opportunity to answer questions, show features & offer “how-to’s” to help people get to know you a little better.

7. Find new projects and clients: Every week my company, Outspoken Media, receives new client referrals and leads as a result of our social media presence. People contact us for services or to partner on something because they like what we’re doing on Twitter or because they read one of our blog posts and it resonated with them. When you make yourself part of the conversation, you make your brand part of the story…and people notice.

8. Hang with other influencers: They say we are the company we keep, right? Well, social media lets you be friends with the people your customers most look up to, helping to increase your own authoritativeness by association. You look smarter when you talk to smart people.

9. Tell your company’s story: What has social media shown us? That people like to conduct business with companies they know. We like being introduced to the voices behind the logo because it helps us to feel a part of the company and invested in their success. By telling your company’s story and sharing that with users, you create a personal feeling and make people invested in your success.

10. Be a mentor: You’re not the only one using social media to network and meet people. So are others. And sometimes, you’re the person they’re trying to meet and the person they’re learning from.

11. Improve your writing skills: I’m not joking. Want to be a better writer? Enter the world of social media. You’ll be forced to be inform, entertain and provide a call to action in just a hundred or so characters. It will be the best writing class you’ve ever had.

12. Develop better ideas: Armed with blogs, forums and social discussions you’ll be able to try and get feedback on ideas before you spend any time developing them. You’ll see what works, what people hate and what they want more of, so you can produce more of what interests them and less of what puts them to sleep.

13. Network faster: Through Twitter, you can have a conversation with several people all before lunch. You can’t buy that type of access. Luckily, through social media, you don’t have to.

14. Find partners: An offshoot of that “networking faster” thing is being able to find future partners, mentors or just really cool people to share resources with. Through social media and the world of blogging, I was able to meet someone I eventually started a business with and countless others I’ve collaborated with on other projects. I’ve also met mentors & friends who have shaped my career and my business.

15. Get answers faster: Need help figuring out the best tool to help you manage your finances as a small business owner? Curious how to set up a custom Facebook landing page? Need advice for how to hire better employees? When you get involved in social media, you build up a network of people who can help you answer these questions and point you to resources faster than you can find them yourself. Social media lets you do more, faster.

16. Create a resource depositary: Every time someone tweets an article that I find extraordinarily useful, I save it. It goes into a document & gets filed there for future use. The next time I’m looking for a tutorial, some inspiration or a guide, I pull it out & give it another look. Or I share it with someone who I think could benefit from it. This resource depositary, again, lets me work faster & better.

17. Develop your company culture: A funny thing happens when your brand has to be social & talk to customers in real time. You’re forced to really pin down who you are & what you want your brand to be. Are you corporate? Are you super friendly? Are you funny? Are you helpful? Are you all about customer service? What makes you you? Who are you? You don’t know until you take the time to figure it out.

18. Better hires: Using social media can help your company hire smarter & faster by not only introducing you to more qualified candidates but also helping you to establish your referral network, Where you once used to spend your time digging through a pile of resumes, social media helps you cut through the clutter  & find the most talented gems.
Those are just a handful of ways that social media can help your business. Are there other ways to achieve some of these goals? Absolutely. But I think social media helps us all to tackle them both more effectively & faster.

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