Public Relations is Part of Your Marketing Plan
As a Wisconsin-based marketing and branding agency, we travel statewide attending networking events. When we explain our company and the services we provide, the topic of public relations almost always takes precedence. Business owners like you want often question: What does PR encompass? What is the process entail? And, does the ROI justify the time invested?
When creating a marketing plan, small businesses often include social media, online and print advertising and SEO implementation, all of which are critical to a successful marketing plan but many often neglect to include PR strategy.
How Can PR Help My Business?
Public Relations can be one of the most cost-effective methods for small businesses to raise brand awareness. The average consumer encounters hundreds of print and online ads on a daily basis. Since these ads have become so familiar in day-to-day life, they can sometimes become lost in the shuffle.
Unlike marketing which is focused on promoting a company’s products or service, PR is primarily focused on your communication with the public. Paid ads can sometimes create the impression that “this company is just trying to sell me something.” Whereas a third party endorsement, like a segment on your local television and radio station or an article in the local newspaper, carries additional credibility and promotes a positive public image. When customers hear about your company from a local news source, it can often be perceived differently than an online advertisement or promotion.
PR Tips & Opportunities
Public relations can be a labor of love. It takes time and effort to get your story or message out to the general public. Below are some PR opportunities your business should be capitalizing on:
- New Hires or Promotions – Develop a “New Hire” press release when you bring on a new employee. Local business publications like the Milwaukee Business Journal, BizTimes Milwaukee and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel accept new entries every week.
- Upcoming Events – Send out a media alert and press release announcing your upcoming event. Include who, what, where, when and why for attendees and reporters.
- Community Involvement & Philanthropic Efforts – Create a specialized pitch to local non-profit reporters explaining your work within the community, whether it is an event, sponsorship, volunteer effort or donation.
- Major Company News – Develop a press release announcing company honors, awards, mergers and acquisitions, partnerships, anniversaries, move or new office building and any new products or services.
- Capitalize on National Observances – Take advantage by planning news announcements and story pitches around national observances. For example if you are a non-profit organization, make a PR push during the month of April for National Volunteer Month.
In addition to the tips above, take the time to research your local newspapers, online business publications, television and radio stations. Find out which reporters and editors cover your industry or service, and be sure to reach out to introduce yourself and your business. Like many journalists or reporters in the news industry, time is of the essence because deadlines are fast approaching. Always be respectful of their time, they may have received your email or voicemail but just haven’t have the time to respond. So be sure to follow up.
Remember that leveraging positive PR is just one piece of your overall marketing strategy. Be sure to integrate your efforts with your current email marketing campaigns, social media strategy and other marketing tactics. There is no such thing as easy PR, some stories take more time than others to pique the media’s interest, however the relationships you build with reporters and editors are invaluable to your business’ long term public relations success.
If you would like help developing a PR strategy that complements your marketing plan, please contact us. The PR team at Ampersand would love to help.