PR or public relations is often a misunderstood term that deserves a little clarification. Many people assume it is just another word for marketing. While they are related in some ways there is a big difference between the two.
The idea behind marketing is to promote a specific promotion or product for your business. Marketing focuses on your customers needs and expectations and tries to deliver exactly what they want to encourage sales. Marketing defines a target market so that you know who to market to and it outlines a strategy to attract and keep customers.
Public relations is focused more on the business itself. Your public relations campaign will be more concerned with the way the public views your business and it’s reputation rather than the products you make (although these may sometimes go hand in hand). Public relations will increase your visibility to the public and show that you are an expert and an industry leader.
The public includes your fellow business owners, clients, neighbors, community leaders and anyone else that you and your business may come in contact with. As you can imagine, with the overwhelming number of possible “public” to build a relationship with, it could become quite involved. Because of this many small business owners would rather just advertise in traditional methods than to take the time to build a strong public relations campaign. But a strong public relations campaign can strengthen your position in the market place and give you a competitive edge that traditional advertising methods just can’t offer you. In many cases, public relations doesn’t cost nearly as much as marketing and advertising campaigns will. Take a look at just a few public relations ideas.
- Speak at local groups and organizations. They are always looking for people to speak at their groups and it will give you a chance for face-to-face contact presenting you and your company in a positive light.
- Write articles or how-to tips for your local magazine or newspaper. Not only is it once again putting you in their minds, but it sets you up as the community expert for the topic you are writing about.
- When something happens with your business or yourself, send out press releases to newspapers.
- Volunteer for something in your community that generates a lot of press and shows your business as being involved in the community.
Public relations is something that you will have to consider and work at every day. It should become habit to you to constantly consider how the public views your business.