5 Reasons Public Relations is a "Must Have" Strategy"
By Lisa Pickens, recent intern, e-Nuz.com, a public relations and digital marketing company located in the Seguin, New Braunfels and San Marcos area.
Many equate public relations (PR) with the spin-doctors you see on television. But the reality is that when public relations is done properly and ethically, it is a powerful tool that can help you grow your business or generate donations for your nonprofit. So, what is public relations, and how can it benefit your business or nonprofit?
What is Public Relations?
The official definition is: Public Relations (PR) is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics. PR is the way businesses, individuals, and companies communicate with the public and media with an aim to educate the public about their brands. It also creates and maintains positive images and strong relationships with each public.
The public relations process involves doing research and developing strategies to achieve the public understanding necessary for your organization’s success. It encompasses anticipating, analyzing and interpreting public opinion, attitudes and issues that impact the future plans of the organization.
So with that understanding, here are five reasons why you should use public relations.
How Public Relations Can Benefit Your Organization
- When a customer sees third-party coverage about your product or service, it is perceived much differently than a traditional advertisement. When a third party, such as a local newspaper, television station or blogger, endorses your product or service, it gives your organization and advertising efforts additional credibility.
- Whether it's through media relations, social media engagement, email communication or building personal relationships, consistency in your public relations efforts will help build relationships with your publics that lead to increased loyalty and sales.
- One good media story from a public relations campaign can lead to an incredible increase in sales. While obtaining publicity isn’t automatic and can be challenging, many businesses are unique and have an interesting story that certain media outlets might be interested in. For example, when the Zappos Shoe Company opens up their meetings to the press to portray complete transparency, it earns them free media coverage that’s much cheaper than flashy events. It also allows for the public to take part in internal meetings of Zappos employees, giving them a sense of relationship with the company.
- Done properly and ethically, PR strategies can also reduce negative publicity that could seriously harm the company. The lack of professional assistance to handle negative situations can make or break your business. For example, if you receive a negative review online, have an irate customer posting on social media or have an employee who commits a crime and you handle it wrong, your sales can take a dive. A trained PR professional will help you minimize the damage in an ethical way and keep sales strong.
- PR is one of the most cost-effective methods for small businesses to raise brand awareness which leads to increased sales. While it does take some manpower, public relations is generally less expensive than paid advertising, which makes it incredibly valuable to businesses with tight budgets.
As you can see, incorporating PR strategies can be extremely helpful and cost effective for your business. Essentially, the success (or failure) of any business/company relies on effective public relations. And, no matter what size your business is, you could benefit from PR strategies.