In the world of small business, the idea of using public relations to help reach business goals sometimes is not appreciated. One can have the frame of mind that if one delivers an excellent service or product, that that alone is good enough public relations – word of mouth by customers. And true, “word of mouth” is the best form of advertising and does create good public relations.
But public relations techniques can help leverage that word of mouth into reaching more potential customers. Those techniques can also help mend a business reputation when a product or service has not been up to snuff. It can make you a force for good in your community, which also helps you with your business goals whether you realize it at first or not. It is at least good for the soul to do something beneficial for others.
It’s all about people
Business is about relationships with people whether they be employees, shareholders, suppliers or customers. Even competitors. Public relations is the art of handling people through communication of various types – press, brochures, letters, etc. It exists as a business specialty to help increase goodwill with these various groups of business people to the end of helping a business succeed. A good definition of what PR does is “good works well publicized.”
So if we strip it all back – it simply comes down to persuading people to better like and trust you, your business and your products or services.
If the Rockefellers could go from the most hated men in America in 1914* to being viewed only a few years later as kindly and philanthropic with the old man being renowned for giving children shiny new 10 cent pieces, public relations can work for you too.
A word of warning though, the backbone of good public relations is truth. It is fatal in public relations to over-exaggerate or use untruths in making claims unless you are doing some sort of publicity stunt in which such hyperbole is acceptable.
Simple PR actions to do
Here are some simple PR actions you can take to increase your business’ visibility and goodwill.
- Send out an email newsletter to your clients or customers every so often with good news about your company and products – not as a sales action but just to provide positive information. Make yourselves human.
- Survey your customers, suppliers or employees to find out what they like most about your business and what they would like to see improved. Then reinforce the good points and correct the bad points. Let them know what you did.
- Find a local community event and donate your product or service as a prize. You generally will get advertising in their promotional materials.
- Find a relevant charity or cause that you would like to support and become an active member in promoting it.
- Create a recognition award for customers or employees or suppliers. Make a big deal about it. Let your community press and industry press know. Send them some information about it and some photos. If they are interested, they will help you with this.
Target Public Marketing also supplies PR services. If you want to know more about what we can do for you, call us at 888-788-5124 or fill out the online form above.
* In April, 1914, coal miners at Rockefeller’s Colorado Fuel & Iron Company were on strike and living in a tent city outside Ludlow, Colorado. They were attacked by company security and National Guard. 18 men, 2 women and 11 children died – the Ludlow Massacre.