I was reading an online forum recently. One post said: “I’ve never been a fan of PR, but…”
This person felt PR might help sustain the recent growth of his business. But he’s not a fan. Why not?
It made me think of the common reasons why some people avoid publicity. Let’s see if I can dispel a few PR myths along the way.
I’m not ready for publicity
What does being ready look like?
Being ready means you’re in a position to leverage your public profile and media coverage. Businesses that have been operating for five years or longer, or are on the verge of becoming national, are more than likely ready for publicity. If you fit either of those categories and don’t feel ready, there may be something missing in your business plan.
Readiness sounds like this: I’ve been in business for some time; I understand the market well and offer unique services. I’m frequently presenting workshops or speaking at business events. I’m writing articles or blogs and about to write my first book.
Or this: My clients are well known brands or government departments; I’ve recently won an industry award or received international recognition for my work.
If you’ve been in business for five years or more and you can’t tick any of these off, take a look at your business plan and plot how to fill these gaps. By filling the gaps you’re paving the path to publicity readiness.
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I’m scared of the limelight
OK, let’s be clear. You’re running a business, not starring in a movie. I promise we PR professionals won’t invite social photographers to your 40th or tell paparazzi what days you’re doing school drop-off.
Media are not interested in your personal life, and they’re not interested in stitching you up. In a strategic media campaign you would talk to professional producers, editors and journalists who want to tell a good business story with your help. They want to know your business and market insights, not what you did last Saturday night.
If you fear getting tongue-tied when speaking to the media, now is the time to start practising your public speaking. Business owners who can fluently give their expert opinions in interviews are highly sought after. And with every mention of your name in the media, up goes your public profile.
I can’t afford it
If my I’m Not Ready test above revealed that you are in fact ready for publicity, there’s a good chance you’re in a position to both invest in PR and leverage the outcomes.
This latter point is important because it helps you get so much more value out of your initial investment. Sharing media articles and interviews in your newsletters, website and business proposals will build credibility and excitement at little-to-no cost.
What does PR cost? Fees start at approximately $3000 per month. Your PR partner will work with you for an initial period of usually four or five months. Long-term retainers start at about the same price.
The value you receive from publicity, though, can be well beyond that fee. Think about the difference one new client will make to your business in the first year of receiving publicity. Now think about the lifetime value of that same client. Now think about the lifetime value of creating a brand and reputation for your business.
If you’re planning on growing your business, strategic publicity will support that growth. It might be the key to opening that door or converting that major new lead. And remember: media coverage and a strong public profile have a long shelf life. They’ll support you now and for years to come.
What’s stopping you from using strategic publicity?