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  • Writer's pictureCascade Communications

How Does PR Help Your Business?

The practice of public relations seems to many to be an intangible. Why? Because unlike advertising where you pay someone to develop and place an end product like an ad (tangible), PR is not such a sure thing. It's because we work with media to create news stories that benefit them, the media outlet, their readers and then your business.

Our job is to help you create and position your newsworthy story and then share it with journalists. The intangibility enters because while waiting for that news story to run, we're working behind the scenes trying to engage journalists. It can take some time especially when they receive hundreds of emails and pitches per day.

Practitioners, like myself, focus on writing press materials for your business (every business needs a press kit), generating strong story ideas that are timely and pitching them to media. However, I can't predict if media are going to be 100% interested or even if they'll run the story right now. PR = patience, and that can be difficult for many small businesses with limited budgets to understand.

Of course, although public relations is great, it's not great for every business. Meaning, there has to be a good, strong, interesting - even compelling - story or trend to work from.

How PR Helps a Business

Why you should pursue PR and how it helps small business:

  1. generate awareness in the market

  2. it generates a credibility you can't get any where else

    1. third-party endorsements are trusted by readers

  3. increase customer traffic and sales

  4. generates interest and customer leads

  5. opens doors to additional business opportunities

  6. helps your business build positive media relations

  7. can generate future and ongoing news opportunities

  8. can grow your business

  9. And most important, introduces you and your business to journalists you can build a relationship with that is mutually beneficial

Think of it this way, if you're looking for a doctor you are probably going to ask friends and family for a recommendation. Well, when you pick up the paper and read about a product or service you're more than 10xs likely to buy it because you trust the source making the referral. It may not be a close friend but someone you perceive as a friend - your favorite columnist. Now imagine your business is profiting from this type of "rave review".

You can make PR work for you by really knowing your audience and understanding how to reach them effectively. But more importantly you need a strong and compelling story that will mean something to your target audience.

If you choose to hire one, a good practitioner will help you make a story more timely to generate immediate interest, and they will know the direct routes to your customers. For small businesses, public relations has become the number one marketing tool to grow business.

Public relations is great for:

  • Product and service launches

  • Fundraising announcements

  • Setting leadership up as experts

  • Industry trend stories that your company is taking a lead on

  • Grand openings

  • Sales and promotions

  • Charity benefits/fundraisers

  • Events - anniversaries, networking, performances, etc.

  • General stories (business, lifestyle, product, trades)

  • Tips and advice for customers or the industry

  • and more

And sometimes, you have to create PR opportunities for your business as part of your ongoing marketing plan. An experienced professional can help because they know what will work and won't work.

It's important to remember that if you're looking for PR to directly promote your business, that's not always going to happen. Full company features are rare and national news want an interesting industry trend story.

Media and journalists are interested in your product, service offering, expertise. PR is not "free advertising" - there is nothing free about advertising. It's about being a source of interesting news and information to journalists and media looking for something new.

Think like a journalist and define a clear news story that's interesting and compelling. Successful PR is always all about your story.

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