Public Relations gaffes are the thing of legends. We all enjoy a little schadenfreude when it comes to public figures putting their foot in it but the biggest PR gaffe of all is happening every day in businesses all over the country. That gaffe is not doing PR properly, or in some cases not at all.
It’s a complete gaffe to neglect one of the most effective aspects of small business marketing strategies. And like all gaffes people aren’t aware they’re committing it. They don’t realise how much power and potential they are letting go to waste.
Considering how valuable and cost-effective (often free- if you work your butt off) PR is, it’s almost tantamount to dereliction of duty not to be jumping on the PR bandwagon. It’s self-inflicted cruelty. Businesses aren’t working in their own best interests when their marketing and advertising strategy is all about throwing their money to sponsorships, billboards, and radio ads. Traditional tactics are expensive, albeit reasonably effective, but there’s so much more that could be done with that budget.
So how do these businesses get their priorities right and stop making these terrible PR decisions?
First things first: STOP SPENDING YOUR ENTIRE BUDGET ON ADVERTISING!
Now, where were we?
Just in case you’re feeling a little lost, why don’t we start with what PR actually is.
In its most basic definition; Public relations (PR) is the way businesses communicate with the public and media.
Someone who is a specialist in PR contacts the media either directly or indirectly on your behalf with the aim to share your story and create a relationship with the audience. Whether your story is about a new product, an innovation award you just won, or how you’re helping the local community – it’s all about making you look good in the eyes of the reader and building a connection with them.
Here are just a few reasons why implementing PR will be so freaking worth it:
The content created by your PR specialist can be shared on social media to build your authority as an expert in your industry, reach new audiences and increase your visibility in an often crowded marketplace. Simple.
When you think about where you are spending your marketing dollars, consider how effective those branded USB’s and the promotional lollies are. If you could even dedicate HALF of that promotions budget to funding a PR consultant you will see 13230% more tangible results (<<< you can’t argue with numbers).
It can be darn hard for your team to pitch to prospects without something cool to get the conversation going. Being able to share an article about your company on a credible third party news site is definitely a conversation starter for your sales team and instantly builds validity around your service or product.
PR is the marketing consumers don’t realise is marketing. This means it’s more successful. It’s natural information digesting (not so technical term). It’s often hard to measure, but people are beginning to tune out of blatant advertising now. Write something moving, get it in front of the right people and build a connection with the readers. What good is a marketing strategy that no one listens to or sees?
Most importantly there’s our friend Google. Without getting too heavy on the technical side of things, you need credible websites backing your website up. How does this work? Think of it as other websites giving your website a testimonial to Google. If a long existing website with lots of traffic and lots of new content writes (and links to) your businesses website, you build credibility as a service provider in Google’s eyes. The more websites you have talking about you and linking directly to you, the higher your search engine ranking will be. To get in front of these credible websites you need an effective PR strategy and someone who can make it happen.
PR is an art and it often gets lost between the big show of advertising and the broadness of marketing in the world of business. Before you sign off on your next marketing campaign budget, you need to make sure there is an allocation for PR. If not, you’ll be left behind with MSN, Myspace and other companies who didn’t adapt.
About our Dynamic guest blogger: Maria Bellissimo-Magrin www.belgrin.com.au Offering the perfect blend of design, PR & social media, Maria Bellissimo-Magrin lives and breathes her passion for creative marketing.