Just mentioning the words Public Relations – or PR – can conjure images of “spin doctors”; fast-talking wheelers and dealers who act as gatekeepers of information to control press access. While PR has come to mean a variety of things – including social media, community relations and blogging – at its core, public relations is media outreach. Especially when it comes to small businesses or startups, PR is much more of a symbiotic relationship than the contentious battle often portrayed on the screen. Getting a brand mentioned by media outlets can have tremendous benefits.
Utilize your expertise
If you’ve founded a small business or startup, then you believe to some extent that you are an expert at what you do. Whether you’re a dentist, hair stylist, or tech CEO, you have some expertise to offer the world. Public relations helps connect your brand with journalists who are looking people with those expert opinions. Speaking as a former journalist, having relationships with experts that reliably give you quality information is invaluable. A quality PR team will find these opportunities – be it an interview or even a guest piece – that will allow your expertise to stand out to potential customers through their connections.
For example, a dentist may be able to find opportunities to talk about the effects of e-cigarettes and vaporizers on oral health. Likewise, the CEO of a tech company could offer opinions on workplace environments and productivity. It may not always be obvious to a business owner the various ways that their expertise can be utilized and who would be interested. That’s the value of PR.
Many brands have certain events that they are looking to promote, but don’t know the best way to let people know about them. While good PR can mean landing a client on the front page of The New York Times, it can also mean getting awareness in local event calendars.
Let’s say you’re doing a local charity sale and you’d like to get more people to come. The Washington Post may not want to dedicate any space in their paper, but a local paper in Alexandria or Georgetown may offer the opportunity to get in front of a few more eyes.
Bring traffic to your site or store
If your PR team is effective, they’ll be seeking out media outlets whose readers fall into your target market. That way, people who read your name and/or brand in a piece will be interested in learning more about what it is you do and why your expertise was so highly prized. If you’re operating a growing running shoe company, it’s great for your growth to be mentioned in a magazine like Forbes. Getting mentioned in Runner’s World, though, is even better and would mean that readers are more likely to fall into your target market.
Another key aspect of good public relations in the modern world is getting backlinks, which is when a news outlet links back to your site in their article. This does two positive things for your brand. First, it gives your site yet another opportunity to gain traffic through link clicks. Second, backlinks – especially from high quality, reputable sources – make your site more credible to search engines, meaning you can get a boost in search rankings.
People continue to read, watch and listen to the news because, by and large, they trust it to give them reliable information and good advice. This means that when your startup or small business is mentioned by a news outlet in a piece, you get a boost to your credibility. If you’re a good enough expert for someone’s news outlet of choice to trust you, then you’re probably worth trusting for that potential customer.
If you’re still not sure how public relations could benefit your business, feel free to contact us for a free analysis of how your brand could grow from quality public relations.