Why Public Relations is good for business
Of course I’d say that PR is good for business – it’s what pays my bills, after all.
But for new start-ups (and sometimes well-established businesses) it’s often the one area that gets overlooked in a business plan. This doesn’t surprise me when there’s already so much to think about when you’re setting up a business from scratch. Stock, logos, websites, technical support, cash flow are all way more important, right?
Well, sort of. Let’s face it, without stock you can’t sell. And, without the cash flow you can’t buy in or make the lovely things you want to sell. But you’ll increase your chances of selling way more if you add a little PR and marketing into the mix. Even if you’re offering a service, with no product at all, a little shameless self-publicity can go a long way to finding your next client or customer and make you stand out from the competition. And Lord knows, there’s competition.
PR in its most basic form is all about communication with your customer and client base. If you don’t communicate, how will they know you exist? Your web site can tell them all about you – but if they can’t find you in the first place that’s all pretty pointless. Understanding how to reach them, and how to talk to them is crucial to help build those all-important sales.
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), the official body for all things PR-related, says this:
“Every business or organisation, no matter how large or small, ultimately depends on its reputation for survival and success. Customers, suppliers, employees, investors, journalists and regulators can have a powerful impact. They all have an opinion about the organisations they come into contact with – whether good or bad, right or wrong. These perceptions will drive their decisions about whether they want to work with, shop with and support these organisations.”
So, in today’s competitive market, reputation can be your biggest asset – the thing that makes you stand out from the crowd and gives you an edge. The bigger your brand awareness, the more opportunity you give yourself.
These days, PR is about so much more than sending a press release to a 100 journalists (on a fax machine, in the good old glory days). The chances are you’re doing some degree of PR already without even realising it, especially if you have social media accounts like a Facebook page or Twitter account. These days, your influencers, buyers and client base might be found on Instagram, YouTube, or even at a trade show – it’s all a far cry from ‘traditional’ media outlets and column inches. In an increasingly tech-mad world, though, word of mouth still counts for a lot. Peer-to-peer influence is still crucial. It all helps, and it’s all PR of some sort.
Some people are naturally gifted at talking about themselves positively, but for a lot of us it’s harder than it sounds and a bit like hearing your own voice: excruciating. Where do you even start?
I’m a firm believer in the notion that people buy from people, so the more personable and relatable your brand is, the better. Think about these things to start with: what is your USP/what makes you stand out from the crowd? Have you got your sales pitch all tied up? Can you talk enthusiastically and succinctly about your business? Do you know which avenues you want to pursue and where your customers and clients can be found?
If you can spend some time fine-tuning the above, you’re half way there. If you’re still struggling, give me a call. x