Public Relations: A Relationship Well Worth the Trouble
As you are already well aware, our world operates in cycles. The Stock market has ups and downs as does the Real Estate market. We have good days and we have bad ones. And as for business in general, whether you own a small or a larger one, you are subject to the same cyclical nature. So how do you sell more during rougher times? What is important to your target market when it comes to persuading them to wager on your products or services? In this article, we will briefly discuss the importance of an often neglected marketing tool that your brand and messaging can surely take advantage of- Public Relations.
A Quickie on PR
Public Relations is strongly related to what the public’s perception of your company comprises. Whether it’s the public’s perception of your products, services, promotions, or ideological standing, how you present yourself (and how often you bless your market with new offerings or messages) has a huge impact on your bottom line. This is a universal truth that all who desire to market to an audience share, whether you aspire to be the best shoe salesman in your firm or the next President of the United States.
If you’re a fan of Apple and its innovative and creative marketing and products, here’s a “Steve Job’s” spin on the notion of Public Relations- PR is an “art form,” as with most things in life, and one that you surely should plan on mastering as one of the most important and effective marketing tools (in particular, Guerrilla Marketing). With a quality, flexible, and innovative product or service, hiring a great sales team can only go so far without proper marketing (PR) and branding. The latter is what really entices and interacts with your target audience.
Planning for PR that Works: Creative, Message, Brand
A company’s relationship with its target audience has everything to do with PR. For most experienced marketers, one of the first things they typically set in stone is a creative marketing strategy. Part of this strategy is usually how the company sets out to portray itself in its advertisements and interaction with the outside world. You would be doing yourself a disservice if your PR didn’t align with an intelligently crafted creative strategy.
Your message – the exact offering you are in the business of – goes hand in hand with your creative strategy and should clearly indicate the direct benefit(s) to your prospects. When presenting yourself or your company, in the form of written press releases or other public portrayals, it is imperative that you are 100% aligned with your messaging and creative strategy at all times. In our society, the slightest sign or hint of detraction from your main cause can leave an undesirably permanent blemish.
And what ties it all together is the perpetual brand you establish amongst the competition. It is through effective PR that you uphold your image, massage and refine it to the point where the public’s perception of you or your company is predictable. But of course the battle doesn’t end there. In fact, it never ends. A well established brand is only the beginning. As Guerrilla Marketers know it by heart, marketing (including PR) has a start, a middle, but never an ending- it all goes full circle, and excellent and persistent PR is just the sustenance to keep it going.
Tips on Establishing Yourself or Company as Competent (Among Others)
If you’re just starting out, PR is your ticket on the fast track to setting out a name for yourself and your company. As Tim Ferriss vividly reminds us in his best selling book, the “Four Hour Work Week,” momentum from well planned PR can be had by taking only a few simple steps. As an example, suppose you are an upstart entrepreneur looking to seize profits in a real estate investment niche. You have no marketing base and you have less than the prerequisite knowledge. To establish yourself as an expert (one who can gain the trust and confidence of members in a target market), sample steps would include:
1. Read all the books or magazine articles in existence regarding your chosen niche. In other words, become more knowledgeable than your target audience is in a select niche area; this is usually sufficient if you’re looking to be deemed “an expert.”
2. Contact one or two experts in your chosen field and ask him or her to schedule a phone or in-person interview; ask for permission to record the conversation.
3. Offer free instruction via seminars held in your local library or University campus. Collect feedback and real life testimonials from seminar attendees and use them as part of your Press Release or self promotion. Then offer to hold more seminars in the facilities of larger business organizations, citing your prior success at the local level.
With this basis and foundation, a well crafted Press Release will work wonders, especially if you’ve already been building a growing list of interested prospects; you will soon learn that subsequent invitations to local radio or TV shows for direct interviews are not uncommon. With a proper Public Relations foundation and comprehensive coverage of your company and image, there’s little you can do from then on to screw up an entire pipeline of prospects knocking at your door.
“But what if I sell products and not services,” you may ask. If you’re selling products (e.g. starting a new restaurant with killer recipes), consider free food on select days of the week to generate public hype and word of mouth referrals (provided your food actually lives up to its name). Or if you sell shampoo, consider generating consumer interest and building trust in the community with “free sample” media promotions. Again, if your product truly works and benefits your target audience, there is little you can do to slow down your sales.
Of course, we are only touching the tip of what lies beneath- truly extraordinary marketing takes time, patience, and dedication; and PR remains, to this day, the fastest and cheapest way to get the word out. Remember, people want what works, from a company that can be trusted and that has the competence to provide it in the long term. Proper and nourished PR is one of the most important marketing tools you can use to boost company image and establish your brand. If you’re just getting started or if you’re currently struggling in your tracks (in dire need of a sanity check), consider using PR as leverage to gaining traction in this fiercely competitive economy.
If you need additional help with your Public Relations campaign please contact Beautiful Planning Marketing Group at 877.841.7244 or visit us online at www.beautifulplanning.com. With competitive low monthly retainer rates you will not have to pay tons to receive amazing publicity. Hope to see you soon in the news, media and more!