More than just a buzz word. Good PR has the power to transform a business but it needs to be backed up by a marketing strategy as Candice Meisels explains.
Many business owners have heard of the word PR and know that they have to invest in PR at some stage. PR is not just a trending word or a hot topic. It can be a powerful medium for small business owners and start-ups to communicate effectively with the media and ultimately with their target audience. I have seen first hand how small businesses can achieve media exposure which leads to brand awareness and increased sales and leads.
So, what is PR anyway?
Public Relations is the way that a business communicates with its stakeholders. This includes the media, target audience and internally employees if the business employs staff. PR uses publicity and media coverage to mould a brand’s target audiences perception of a business, product or service.
Where does PR fit in overall Marketing Strategy?
The basic Marketing Mix is made up of the target market and the and 4 P’s.
The first P is Product, and this forms the tangible product that the business sells. This includes packaging, branding, USP, features etc.
The second P is Place and this is where you sell your product. It can be an online store, bricks, and mortar store or online or physical marketplace.
The third P is Price, and this is your Pricing Strategy. How much does your product cost, your wholesale price, discounts etc? Do you follow a premium price strategy or a loss leader strategy?
The fourth P is the Promotion element of the Marketing Mix. This is where all promotional activities live. Advertising, Sales Promotions, In-Store Promotions, Direct Marketing, Newsletters and of course PR live here.
PR falls under the fourth P of the Marketing Mix.
Here’s what PR won’t do:
PR is not advertising. PR is not an advertorial. PR is not a live TV sales promotion. PR is not a sponsored post.
It is publicity that is generally unpaid unless the small business owner hires a PR expert to implement the campaign on behalf of their business.
The PR message can be controlled to a degree, but it cannot be controlled entirely as it is unpaid. If it were paid then it would be an advert or a sponsored post.
PR should be customised to the target media outlet and the target audience.
PR content should always be customised to the media outlet. It should also be current and newsworthy. Sales jargon and calls to action should be avoided when creating editorial.
Here’s how it can help a small business or start-up
PR can assist business owners with creating brand awareness, pitching themselves as an expert and building credibility. PR can also personify a business when the business owner shares their unique story with the media and its customers.
PR can also help a business to grow their social media audience and SEO organically.
Who’s in charge of creating, implementing and evaluating the campaign?
There are different ways of implementing PR Strategies for start-ups:
- Give it a go and do your own PR.
- Hire a PR Consultant or freelancer which will be more affordable
- Hire an agency if you have more budget.