Does my business need PR?
For SMEs, choosing how to invest your marketing budget can be challenging. How do you know which channel to invest in and when? When it comes to public relations (PR) in particular, many SMEs know that PR may be helpful for their business, but they don’t yet understand the particulars or where to start.
What is PR?
Firstly, what do we mean by PR? According to the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA), PR is “the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organisation (or individual) and its (or their) publics.”
Put simply, public relations is about managing the reputation of your brand with the groups you need to target (otherwise know as ‘publics’ or target audiences) such as your customer, industry, government, media and more.
Essentially, the goal – as PRIA suggests – is to “earn public understanding and acceptance.” Beyond just acceptance, PR also actively works to create buzz and conversation about a brand.
Is PR just about media?
PR is often mistakenly conflated with media engagement. While engaging the media is a big part of public relations, the media isn’t the only vehicle for public relations, especially in the digital age.
PR can be considered earned media. Earned media refers to achieving a mention of the brand for ‘free’ in channels such as the media, social media and blogs. Alternatively, paid media refers to advertising and owned media refers to a brand’s channels such as their blog, website or collateral.
Keep in mind that public relations (or earned media) is never really free. There is always a significant time investment, if not a financial cost, involved.
Does my business need PR?
Building a positive brand reputation for your business with your target audiences is critical. This is why PR is a relevant pursuit for all SMEs. If you have the right story to tell – for example a new product or milestone, PR is a great choice.
Public relations provides a number of unique benefits:
- PR provides a third party endorsement of your brand
When a journalist writes a story about your brand, there is an added layer of credibility. Instead of singing your own praises (as you would through an advertisement for example), instead someone else is. The same goes for social media advocates. If a third party – the media, your customer, a blogger – can tell your brand’s story, it builds trust more effectively.
- PR effectively builds brand awareness
PR is one of the best ways to build brand awareness and position your brand positively. The more touchpoints there are for your brand via the media or social media, the more likely it is that your customer or client will know who you are and what you do.
- PR contributes to your sales funnel
In order to attract sales, you need to attract leads. PR is a great way to do just that. By bringing people into the top of your sales funnel by building awareness of your brand, you are increasing the likelihood of more sales down the line.
Would you like to learn more about PR for your business?
Green Door Co has launched PR 4 SMEs – a comprehensive online course which will provide you with the knowledge and tools to launch your own successful PR program. The course is designed for startups, entrepreneurs, SMEs and marketing teams who want to upskill in PR. To find out more and trial the first 5 lessons free click here.