What Public Relations Does for Small Businesses

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.