Public Relations – is it a mystery to you?

fictitious press releasePublic Relations is more than just writing media press releases. Yes, press releases are a big part of the job. But there is so much more!

At its heart, PR is all about building and maintaining a credible reputation. This goes beyond a focus on your target market.

PR is also about communications with employees, vendors, investors, and yes… even clients! It’s about creating goodwill.

Many CEO’s of small and medium sized businesses don’t feel they are big enough for public relations to be effective. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Savvy marketers use PR on a regular basis. PR can be your least expensive form of marketing. Having a PR strategy demonstrates your professionalism and organizational wherewithal. I think every business needs a public relations strategy.

The problem for companies that don’t do much PR, is that they overlook or don’t know the opportunities that exist. Of course there is the media press release, but there are other PR activities you can also undertake. And some of those actions can include a press release.

Two PR ideas you can use today

You can use the following tactics to support your reputation. These two ideas are not employed as much as they could be:

1.) Thought leadership

Whether it’s you or a senior staffer, volunteer your people for speaking opportunities, article posts, podcasts, and webinars. You have people with skills and knowledge – let them demonstrate it.

This strategy can be utilized for speaking at networking events, like local chamber of commerce luncheons, breakfast meet ups, or lunch-and-learn events. If it’s a large enough event, there is a good chance of media being present – an added benefit!

For article posts, podcasts, or webinars, these could be internally generated. They could also be externally produced, such as guest spots with your affiliates, vendors, or customers, or for industry publications and broadcasts.

For large public companies with a sufficient public interest level, a live media press conference is a possibility.

This concept offers two benefits.

First, it makes your company expert feel good to be recognized, and there’s an ego boost that goes with this fifteen minutes of fame.

The other benefit is positioning your company as a place of thought leadership. This will help your company be seen as a place where the best people go to work, and leading-edge techniques are developed. I see this used most often by tech companies, who do an excellent job of with this tactic.

2.) Employee Recognition

The second tactic you should recognize is that one of the best PR tools available is your employees.

Your staff will talk about your company. So, give them something good to talk about.

They discuss the corporate culture. So, establish a culture they’ll be quick to discuss.

They (or perhaps their spouses) will likely brag about awards they receive. So… award them!

Award employees for safety courses, training achievements, seminar completions, and when they offer helpful suggestions – and do it publicly! You get to advertise your brand and become more top-of-mind, without pitching a product or service. This is great PR material.

These awards also make quick and easy posts for your social media.

Recognizing achievements and new ideas publicly will motivate employees. This encourages them to volunteer solutions to problems and pass along inspiring customer stories in the future.

The result of these initiatives will provide subject material for all your digital content (blogs, newsletter articles, case studies, & white papers).

Other PR ideas

Some other PR ideas that warrant a press release include:

  • charitable donations
  • new product launches
  • new hires
  • office/plant moves & expansions
  • additions to your board of directors
  • company mergers & acquisitions
  • AGM announcements
  • dividend declarations

The goal is to take everything positive that you do and put it to work building brand awareness in the public’s mind.

Most business people know that building goodwill takes consistent and ongoing effort. It doesn’t happen overnight, unless you get real lucky.

Now, you may not have the time to undertake these PR activities. Perhaps you don’t have a team member who “gets it.” Or, maybe these events don’t happen often enough in your organization to merit hiring or training someone to do the job.

If any of those scenarios apply to you, then take comfort in your ability to contract a professional to help you out.

  • You’ll have confidence that the task is being done properly;
  • The cost is limited to the event frequency;
  • You won’t have a training burden; and
  • The fee that most PR professionals charge is usually quite reasonable when you consider the inherent benefits of keeping your brand publicly top-of-mind.

Much of the fog and mystery of public relations should have been relieved by these ideas. PR is fundamentally a simple concept that just takes a little bit of attention.

What have your experiences been with public relations? Are there other PR tips you can add to this? Please feel free to respond or ask a question in the Leave a Comment section.

Jefferson Vinall is a copywriter specializing in web content for B2B companies.