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In the first three parts of our PR series, we’ve discussed a number of topics, including how to create relationships with reporters, bloggers and journalists. Now, let’s talk about why you need PR. What are the benefits, and who is best positioned to help you to maximize the impact?
Here’s why public relations matters to your small business.
1. Consumers Trust Editorial Content More than Ads
Public relations gets the word out that your business, product and/or service exists in a different way than ads do. Studies show consumers trust third-party editorial content, such as newspapers and magazines, more than any type of advertising. Not too surprising, right? It’s better when someone else sings your praises than when you do so yourself.
2. Builds Credibility
Do you have a new product or service that doesn’t have a lot of competition? Maybe your business is brand new and you do have lots of competition. Either way, you need to educate the public about what your product does, why it’s worthwhile and what differentiates you from the pack. Readers already have a relationship with their local media, so they’re more likely to pay attention when they hear this information from a familiar source.
3. Drive Sales
Good PR should help fill your marketing funnel in some way; the bottom line here is to drive sales. Not every press hit — blog mentions, newspaper articles, local TV and news shows, etc. — will result in people lining up at the cash register, but it should generate buzz that converts customers at some point in the future.
4. Help Blunt an Image Crisis.
You hope it never happens, but one negative customer service experience or social media post gone viral can ruin your business’s reputation. Taking immediate action via a well-planned PR crisis response strategy — which should include proper messaging and targeted outreach — can help you repair the damage. (See also: “The Dos and Don’ts of Dealing with Negative Online Reviews”)
Notice that for all of these benefits to be relevant, it’s important for the endorsement or message to come from someone other than you. That’s not to say that press releases and statements don’t have their place–they do–but in many situations, it’s best to have someone else who believes in you to brag or defend your business.