An effective public relations program can make a difference in how well a business distinguishes itself from competitors in this tough economic environment. But, too often businesses limit their marketing efforts to traditional advertising, direct mail and other promotions including the use of social media. Yet, whether they use print, online, digital or all three platforms, business owners are faced with the daunting challenge of creating compelling messages that will net them only 1 percent or less return by way of sales leads that these efforts typically generate. Indeed in such a crowded field, it is difficult for a business to get its fair share of the market by relying only on traditional ways.
But, adding public relations to the mix can help put the spotlight in a significant way on a business enterprise, especially a start-up or small firm that is seeking to enhance brand awareness. In and of itself, getting a mention in the media may not lead directly to new business as a direct mail marketing campaign might do in generating a response. But, over time, repeated media coverage will reinforce a company’s name with potential customers, thus enhancing the direct sell efforts in the advertising and marketing initiatives.
The most valuable marketing benefit a successful strategic PR program can yield is establishing ‘credibility’ for a business. That’s because, unlike the news and editorial pages, paid advertising is, by definition, self-serving. In an ad, it’s expected that a business will say only positive things about its product or service. But, when a newspaper runs a favorable article as a result of an effective press release and media pitch, the readers will look at that in an entirely different light than an ad. It’s analogous to receiving an official seal of approval and that counts for a great deal more than any ad can match.
Another reason the reader is more likely to take notice of an article instead of an ad is that he or she is reading the publication primarily to get the news. On the other hand, ads compete for the reader’s attention. In order for any ad to stand out, it needs to be attention-getting and appear on a frequent basis, an expensive proposition.
The local print and online and media and business media outlets provide excellent opportunities for developing a solid PR foundation one can build on. Press release announcements about a firm’s new product or service, appointments of new employees, staff promotions and its involvement in supporting community charitable causes stand an excellent chance of being picked up by the media, especially when accompanied by photos ass editors love visuals.
The key to creating an effective PR campaign is frequent distribution of newsworthy information to help assure that there will be a steady stream of media ‘hits’ that business owners can amass and leverage in ways that literally add up to a form of free advertising. Suffice it to say that the benefits of creating good will in the public mind by showcasing a business’s name, people and accomplishments in the media are incalculable and a powerful and necessary component in any marketing strategy.
About Frank Pagani
Frank Pagani is an accomplished strategic public relations and marketing professional, award-winning writer and senior level account manager with more than 35 years of experience in helping businesses and organizations in diverse sectors to succeed by creating high-impact, results-driven communications programs.