Welcome to the Small Business Era
PR – “The profession or practice of creating and maintaining goodwill or an organization’s various publics (customers, employees, investors, suppliers, etc.), usually through publicity and other non-paid forms of communication.” (as defined by BusinessDictionary.com)
For most small business owners, PR is thought of as out of reach or unimportant. The fact is PR for the small business is important and within reach.
The questions comes down to time and cost. Does the typical small business owner have either or both the time and budget to engage in a successful PR campaign? There are likely as many opinions regarding this as there are questions about PR.
Although achievable, PR is a generally a long-term play. The objective is for consistent press, similar to advertising. To do this will require time and focus. Either of those are usually in short supply to the small business.
Then what of outsourcing PR efforts? This, too, requires time to properly filter the many choices of PR experts and firms, but far less than pursuing it in-house. To assist in reducing that time, we reached out to a well-regarded PR specialist based out of Long Island, Cindy Mardenfeld of Infinity Relations, Inc.
According to Cindy, hiring a PR pro helps “increase company visibility, current branding and marketing strategies.” For example, having been contracted just a few days earlier, Infinity Relations managed to obtain a live on-air morning interview for CEO & Founder of WinWinUSA.com, Jay M Bernstein on a popular talk radio station on Long Island. This was something the young company had no time or resources available to pursue.
When reviewing PR firms or specialist, Cindy advises a small business to Google the firm or specialist, review feedback and gauge their track record. Specifically, has the company been published in a newspaper/magazine or had exposure on TV/radio? Has the company or specialist worked with other businesses in your field? Does the firm or specialist have existing media relationships? Of course, asking for references will help with the selection process.
What can be expected from a successful PR effort? More clients, greater brand awareness, solidifying the brand and more demand.
PR is a 2-way street. The media outlet or reporter is looking for an engaging story. The small business is looking for additional exposure. If a small business owner is to pursue PR on his own, keep the following in mind:
1) Understand what YOUR customers read or listen to, and when and where. What good is an article about Harry’s Boston Pluming in a local newspaper in Dallas, TX?
2) Build relationships with media outlets. Introduce yourself, who you are and what you are an expert in.
3) Pitch your story idea AFTER having built at least a basic relationship with a reporter
4) When you do pitch a story idea, provide a lot of meat-n-potatoes for the reporter (Quotes, citations, sources, etc)
5) Maintain current media relationships while building additional ones
A PR firm or expert will bring these relationships with them and thus produce results much quicker. A simple analysis of your time cost should provide you with the answer to: Should I do this in-house or contract with a firm?
For more information regarding public relations, event management, media outreach, strategic planning & marketing, Cindy Mardenfeld may be contacted at:
Infinity Relations, Inc
The business may also be Allied and contacted on the B2B social media site, WinWinUSA.com
(Rob K.-Marketing & Strategy Professional)