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When many small business owners or start-up companies create a business plan, they will often set money aside for marketing and advertising, but most don't even think about Public Relations. In fact, the majority of small, independent business owners I talk to today, don't even realize the benefits of Public Relations.
The benefit of a good Public Relations campaign will help any business ultimately promote its brand or service and in most cases, Public Relations is cheaper than advertising.
So what is the difference between PR and Advertising? I like to explain it. When you talk about Public Relations, in the industry, we call it "earned media." Earned Media is authentic, creates an organic conversation (think of word of mouth conversation). Your friend uses a plumber and likes the service, that friend makes a recommendation. Studies show, you're more likely to use your friend's recommendation than an advertisement. PR can be incredibly valuable to a small business. Every business has an image it wants to portray and today that image can be bruised by comments on the Internet. By establishing proper communications channels, through Public Relations, you can communicate directly with your clients and customers and respond to timely matters before an issue spirals out of control.
Businesses think they don't need PR. I share with my clients, think of Public Relations like storytelling. I strongly believe every company, business, service has an unique story to tell. It's what makes your business tick.
A consistent public relations program will help build your brand and enhance your general public awareness. Public Relations doesn't happen overnight, but once it works, it's good for your bottom line.
Amy Hawkes Repke, REPS Consulting, LLC
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