PR is More Than Just Publicity

So you’ve hung up your shingle and clients aren’t exactly beating a path to your door. What can you do? Well you might think standing out on the street with a megaphone will do the trick. And it may be one way to gain attention for your business, but an overall public relations plan incorporating a number of promotional ideas could be just what your business needs.

Public relations is communicating who you are, what you do and how you make a difference. It’s about having successful “relationships” with your “public”. They could be friends, clients, potential customers, competitors or the media who can all help spread the word about your business.

One way of communicating your message is through publicity or media relations. Sending out media releases to create awareness of your product or service through editorial coverage is great publicity and it is very effective. They say publicity is seven times more effective than advertising. But it is just one tactic of an overall public relations plan that you could incorporate.

Let’s look at a few other ideas:

* Newsletters email or hard copy – direct communication with your public, clients and customers. Send out some sort of communication to your data base at least once a quarter to keep “top of mind”

* Write articles about your area of expertise and submit them to business or consumer publications and online sites such as this one you are reading. I have had work come to me directly through published articles

* Fact sheets or a brochure. Include written information about you, your product or service with any mail outs

* Create a website. This is your online PR brochure but you need to keep telling people about it. Make sure you incorporate strategies to promote your site, such as include the domain name in every piece of communication collateral you have, whether it’s brochures, stickers, pens or caps. Put it everywhere

* Product launches and product giveaways to the media. Create “buzz” for your business by giving something away. Be generous as ultimately it will help with sales

* Public speaking – free speeches to Rotary clubs or other organisations is a good way of letting people know about your business and area of expertise. By being known as an expert on a particular topic and getting the word out perhaps the media will contact you

* Networking – join organisations of like minded people such as business networks or your local Chamber of Commerce. Build rapport and relationships to help spread the word about who you are and what you do

* Special events such as a trade show or entering business awards can help boost your profile. Why not hold a launch or an open day or even a cocktail party at your place of business to thank your clients or customers

* Sponsorships. If you can’t afford to hold your own event why not sponsor an event that somebody else is organising. Make sure your sponsorship is acknowledged on any advertising and other communication collateral

* Something as simple as sending thank you notes and letters is good personal PR