Small businesses are at a disadvantage when it comes to achieving visibility. They don’t have storefronts on every corner; they don’t have huge advertising budgets; they don’t have a huge marketing department. Word-of-mouth advertising can only get them so far.
Public relations can be the champion of small businesses because it is an effective, low-cost way to get a business the publicity, visibility and “buzz” it craves. (Buzz is the noise your market makes when everyone’s talking about you. It’s a good thing.)
Following are three primary benefits of public relations:
- Public relations is the most effective way to form a favorable public opinion. Advertising won’t do it. Marketing won’t do it. Public relations will. Public relations helps form a favorable public opinion through “implied endorsement” of non-biased industry authorities (the press and trade analysts). Skeptical? Then consider this: Which holds more weight — an advertisement about a company’s new product or a positive article about the company’s new product? It’s easy to toot our own horn. It’s more difficult to get someone to believe you.
- Public relations costs much less than other types of promotion. Compare the cost of a direct mail campaign or a display ad in a trade publication with the cost of mailing a press release; yet the articles the press release generates may be viewed by a larger audience.
- Public relations can assist in recruitment and retention of quality employees. Employees like to work at a place that is well known and well thought of in their community; it gives them a sense that the company is solid and will be around at paycheck time.
In addition to the above, effective public relations can weather a company through many a storm. When a crisis occurs, a business that has the support of its community (something that cannot be bought through display ads or direct mail campaigns) has a much better chance of surviving with its image — and its company — intact.
Businesses that fail to create and capitalize on public relations opportunities are missing a big piece of the picture.
This article reprinted with permission from Yvonne Meacham Buchanan, http://www.careers-in-public-relations.com.