What is PR and how can it help me grow my business?

A quick introduction to PR and its benefits for start-ups and SMEs 

What is PR? 

Good PR (Public Relations) is about engaging with your audience and spreading the good word about your business, no matter how large or small.
Unlike other forms of marketing, PR can help you build your business’s image, maintain its good reputation and speak volumes about the values of your company.
PR can help you manage your firm’s reputation and can influence the way stakeholders perceive what you do.
In short, PR can be described as “the practice of managing communication between an organisation and its publics.”

How can PR help to grow your small business? 

Here are just a few things PR can do:
  • Raise awareness of what you do
  • Build brand loyalty
  • Reinforce a customer’s decision to use your product or services as the right one
  • Give you extensive media coverage without you having to resort to expensive advertising
  • Raise your company’s profile in the local area
  • Maintain relationships with key stakeholders, including your clients
  • Resolve issues quickly and with minimal damage to your business
  • Educate your publics (in other words, your audience) on local issues, best practice and the options available to them
  • Drum up support for a particular cause or campaign
  • Manage customer queries and complaints in a positive way
  • Communicate effectively with your stakeholders in the event of a crisis
  • Reach very large audiences easily and at minimal cost
  • Boost your company’s image over your competitors
  • Increase your online presence and search engine visibility

How can I use PR to grow my business?

The tools and activities of PR include the following:

  • Media Relations  – i.e. circulating messages through media channels to manage how your business is portrayed by the media. Media Relations generally involves writing and distributing press releases; media tours, press trips and reviews (depending on the type of business), and engaging with stakeholders on social media
  • Advertorials – sponsored/paid-for content in newspapers and magazines and online
  • Social Media – spreading the word through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat… this might include running competitions, for example
  • Newsletters – via email marketing platforms such as MailChimp, or in print or online
  • Brochures/catalogues – promoting your products and services
  • Business Events – getting involved by exhibiting at an event or running one of your own
  • Speaking Engagements – offering your expertise at a networking or other business event
  • Sponsorships or Partnerships – sponsoring an event, feature or publication is a great way to raise the profile of your brand
  • Community Relations – this might include charity work or offering your services or support to a local school or community group
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you tell people about it too. A positive news story can speak volumes about what’s at the heart of your business.
Here’s what other people say about PR – you might recognise some of their names…
“If I was down to the last dollar of my marketing budget I’d spend it on PR!” – Bill Gates
“Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.” – Richard Branson
“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” – Rudyard Kipling
“Everything you do or say is public relations.” – Unknown
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffet
“What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.” – Abraham Lincoln
Got a question about PR? Get in touch at info@lyndahamiltoncommunications.co.uk 
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