Why You Need Public Relations For Your Local Business

Jun 17, 2013

Why You Need Public Relations For Your Local Business

In today’s fast-paced world, your business needs to thrive. However, in a media-saturated culture, that task can often be daunting.

Public relations, most often called PR, is the science and art of making people, governments and organizations look great in the public space. PR professionals will work behind the scenes to make this a reality.

Effective PR is a critical part of any public business. The image your company portrays and the resulting public opinion can either make or break your company. Many small business owners are turning to professional public relations teams to help bring their brand into the public in a positive light.

Public Relations Professionals Provide:

  • Sending press releases
  • Reaching out to journalists
  • Researching public opinion, trends and insights
  • Reach out to media to book TV, Radio and Newspaper interviews

Public relations is different from traditional advertising. Advertising strives to connect and sell a product or service, whereas PR focuses on getting the word out about a business in a positive way. It is to establish credibility and help shape the public image.

PR is free advertising for your business. When a journalist covers a story about you and your business or you secure a television interview to represent your company, these media hits will only help shape and grow your company.

Public relations professionals try to gain unpaid publicity from newspaper articles, radio or TV news segments.

What do Public Relations Professionals Do?

People who work in Public Relations work daily to get free publicity for their clients. Newspapers, radio and TV stations (especially local ones) are always looking for fresh story ideas, particularly those with a “human interest” angle.

A PR professional is creative in the sense that they can crafts a press releases with a fresh compelling news story, making it clear why the client’s product, service or personal history is important.

The goal is to fulfill the journalist’s requirement for news while enhancing the client’s image in the public eye.

PR professionals spend the majority of their time cultivating relationships with journalists and people in the mass media.

Another aspect of a PR representative is to create a press kit, often called a media kit. Journalists often request a full press kit as a follow-up to a press release. The press kit contains everything the journalist will need to understand who the client is and what the client does.

A Press Kit Includes:

  • Professional profiles
  • Company history
  • Photographs
  • Detailed product samples
  • Press releases
  • Links

The business landscape is changing rapidly, and in today’s world many press kits are created online. It is easier to send emails and receive responses. Technology has helped advance PR and as the web itself expands so do business and communication opportunities. Of course, having good PR will not help your business unless you can back the media attention with a solid foundation.

When a brand or company gets media attention, one of the first things the public will want to do is visit your Web site. Having a well-designed Web site is mandatory for your growing business. It must educate as well as connect potential consumers to your product or service.

It is important to have a professional Web site that is SEO web optimized. This will help grow your business and maintain a positive and current image for potential consumers.

Web sites are a smart way to connect with journalists. Most large organization and growing businesses include a Press button on their official Web site. This page is used to showcase all press releases, company history, executive bios, high-resolution digital photos and even downloadable, press interviews. Remember that a good Web site can draw in journalists all by itself.

Challenges of Public Relations

Over the past decade the public relations industry has dramatically changed. One of the biggest PR challenges posed by technology is the explosion of social media.

Social media such as social networking Web sites like Facebook, Google + and user-generated content communities like YouTube, Pinterest and Vine are all helping consumers instantly share their own message.

Not all social media is created equal, and it is not necessary to jump on every new trend. For example, a dentist who owns a small practice may make better use of Facebook over Twitter.

There is an entirely new generation of people who communicate online. All they have ever known is social media and these people are the key connectors for the future of your brand. They distrust advertising that is “paid” and instead turn to trusted sources online such as blogs, review sites and interviews in the media.

The Result of Public Relations:

  • Maximized trust among potential and current users/customers/patients
  • Increased brand recognition
  • More loyal customers
  • Increased brand trust
  • Increased sales

To truly build a lasting brand presence, you need public relations for your company.

Shannon Kaiser is a PR consultant and avid blogger for Local Fresh who offers advice for companies looking to generate buzz in the online sphere. “The best type of brand building comes from a place of authenticity. At the end of the day you are in business because you want to help improve the lives of others, whether you are a dentist helping people have beautiful smiles, or you are a local restaurant serving fresh, local food, the service you offer can make a difference in another persons live. Your business will grow naturally when you share your products or knowledge base in a passionate manner. PR can be your best friend and help potential customers find you, who would have never otherwise connected to your company.”

Sharing your brand with the public is an exciting aspect of running a local business. Many people think if you are a small business owner, you do not need to invest in public relations, but the world is changing. In order to keep up with the savvy, information-hungry consumer, public relations is key.