Public relations (PR) is simply getting people to talk about your business with the aim of raising positive awareness about your business. Businesses that use PR attest to the fact it helps build relationships with customers and has long-term gains on building the credibility of a business. There's more that goes into it and may require considerable resources just like marketing.
We asked entrepreneurs and business owners how they use public relations for their business and here are the insightful responses;
#1- Build trust with new audiences
I use public relations (PR) to contribute helpful advice and bite-size tips in features on other publications to gain the attention of new viewers that will see me as an interesting and credible. I'm happy to accept guest contributor opportunities within my industry to organically increase my brand exposure and subscriber list. This type of PR allows my voice and brand message to be introduced in a natural and helpful way on a platform that viewers already appreciate and enjoy. With this type of publicity, my trustworthiness with the new audience is almost automatic. PR has been the catalyst for my brand's charisma. By my definition, charisma is when people like themselves for liking you. Press coverage has placed a spotlight on my brand for people to see me as someone that they want to follow and know more about. PR articles and features have introduced my business as a trusted authority in front of people who may have not otherwise found me. I always share any new media attention with my existing community to maintain their support and confidence in my brand.
Thanks to Shaunda Necole
#2- Thought leadership
I use thought leadership as a great way to build my brand, increase my visibility more broadly, raise my profile and attract more clients/customers. If you cannot afford hiring a PR agency to get attention, activities like speaking at a conference, writing articles, building your following on social media all contribute increasing your awareness with the media, potential customers and building your credibility with a larger community. Instead of trying to start your own blog or newsletter, try contributing regularly to existing well-trafficked blogs in your industry or newsletters of like-minded organizations reaching the same target audience as you. Make sure you put your URL or contact info on it so they can find you and follow up. When your articles or talks become available online, make sure to send them out via social media to all your friends, followers and contacts. Don¹t let social media drive you crazy, you do not need to be everywhere, it does not matter which platform you choose just pick one or 2 that are authentic to you. It should look and sound like you and the brand you have built. Whether yours is polished or more informal, chatty or academic, humorous or snarky, it is a way for your personality to come through. Everyone is not going to like you or hire you but for the ones who would be a great fit for you make sure they feel and keep a connection and give them a reason to remember you so that when they need your help they think of you first.
Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls!
If your business is a professional services firm, newsjacking is a great PR strategy.Newsjacking is taking advantage of news and current affairs in such a way asto promote your own brand, business or expertise. For example, we've seen rolling coverage of the devastating inferno at Notre Dame in Paris. Initially, the focus was on the potential loss of life, salvation of the priceless works of art, and whether the Medieval Cathedral would withstand the fire. Now, questions are being asked about the cause. Who or what is to blame? This extraordinary event presents a once-in-a-decade opportunity for insurance lawyers to demonstrate their thought leadership on a global scale. Are historic landmarks insurable? What about religious relics and artefacts? Might the company that was doing the renovation works be held liable? Will someone have to pay? Can any amount of money possible compensate? Newsjacking sounds simple but because it's reactive and time-critical it requires preparation. When an opportunity presents itself, your media spokesperson must be ready, willing and able to respond. That necessitates they be media trained in advance, and that you be able to rapidly connect with your media targets.
Thanks to Jacqueline (Jaci) Burns, Market Expertise!
#4- Credibility and brand building
PR helped make my business what it is today. It shaped my personal brand as a small business expert not only in my industry, but in general, garnering attention with local and national media. You don't have to be a corporate giant to get the press to pay attention. What you need is a skill public relations company or publicist who is able to present well-crafted story that is also able to give the press a reason to speak to you as an expert. Generation of regular media coverage allowed me to build my brand and create important industry awareness. Small stories paved the way for helping get featured in national business publications as well as on national tv and radio programs. All of these efforts created unmatched credibility that has provided me a competitive advantage for growing my business.
Thanks to Robert Basso, Associated Human Capital Management!
#5-Get the word out
As the first women's empowerment dance studio of our kind, PR has been a great way to get the word out about our unique offerings and catch the attention of the women we want to attract. Landing major placements with news outlets helps us reach a wide audience quickly and it also validates our business in consumers' eyes which helps our overall growth and supports our success!
Thanks to Julia Sokol, SassClass!
#6- For future potential leads
We use PR in a very weird way. Essentially, instead of using it for exposure to garner an audience's attention, we leverage the outlet for future potential leads. Hence, we were featured on ‘x large media outlet on television', so now our brand is more prestigious. One of the reasons why we use Public Relations for this purpose, is because we don't want to come off as salesy/pushy during the actual exposure. So far, it has worked quite well for improving what we can charge clients.
Thanks to Jeff Butler
#7- Engage with current and potential customers
A great way I effectively use public relations to promote my business is through leveraging social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These networks provide a way to directly engage with current and potential customers. It is important to encourage dialogue with my followers through constantly posting interesting content, sharing newsworthy stories and responding to questions and queries. Social media enables my business to secure credibility, enhance reputation and brand awareness, thereby assisting my business in gaining an advantage over competitors.
Thanks to Ollie Smith, ExpertSure!
#8-Reverse engineer the editorial angle for our launches
This is a hack we do for startups trying to get noticed. Online publications usually post their editorial calendar for the year so advertisers can decide where to spend. We take this calendar and reverse engineer the editorial angle for our launches. If we know that January will be a month dedicated to health and fitness then we'll tie a product launch or promotion to this theme. This way we hand editors a story that aligns with their agenda.
Thanks to Jim Huffman, Growthhit!
PR has allowed me to do two things really, and that's to share roughly 20 years of business building experience with fellow entrepreneurs as well as to gain greater credibility as an authority on small business marketing. It's an inexpensive way to get your message to your niche target audience. Many of my clients reached out to me because they heard me on a podcast or read one of my thought-leadership pieces. So it's definitely helped to grow my business.
Thanks to Allan Dib, Successwise!
#10- Tell a story
Public Relations have been a lifesaver for me. Our company sells dilators, a patented medical device for women who suffer from pelvic pain conditions. I’m constantly facing the problem of being unable to advertise due to my product being categorized as a sexual health device. Desperate to promote my product without advertising, the PR company that I hired was able to get our company worldwide press in several major publications as well as many podcasts. This press will never disappear unlike a paid advertisement. It allows a company like mine to tell a very important story to consumers that is much more personal than an ad, and with far greater credibility. PR has been key to my marketing and success.
Thanks to Tara Langdale-Schmidt, VuVatech!
#11- Build awareness and attract customers
As a start-up business, resources and funds are always limited at the beginning so it's important to leverage PR to get the word out about your brand and business. I use PR to build awareness of my business and to attract investors and customers. I do this by contributing to articles in relevant outlets such as business and tech online and print publications, speaking at conferences, creating Press Releases and sharing them with the local press.
Thanks to Sukhi Jutla, MarketOrders!
#12- Search Engine Optimization
Public relations (PR) can be used for awareness and branding but we mainly use PR for backlinks. Our business focus heavily on search engine optimization (SEO) because it has the highest return on investment for us as an e-commerce business. When we are featured on media platforms, it is a must for us to request for a backlink to our website, increasing the trust and authority for our site. It is a small SEO hack that has helped us to stay ahead with our competitors.
Thanks to Charlotte Ang, Legend Age Lipstick!
#13- Establish rapports
We use PR for our business to establish ourselves as experts within our industry. We establish rapports with members of the media, which will quote us in articles they are working on for topics where we have plenty of advice and tips to share with their audience. This allows us to share valuable information and further our company's reach on and offline.
Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation.com!