PRIn essence, PR is a business owner’s best weapon – what you turn to in the bottom of the ninth when all bets are off.

But many companies today don’t understand what PR is and the value it can bring. Read on to learn why PR is the most powerful marketing tool that brings businesses from being unheard to being well-known and recognizable.

PR stands for Public Relations, yet many people don’t really understand what the term actually means. A good definition for PR is that it’s the reputational vehicle by which your company becomes well-known and well-respected. Companies really start to understand PR when their reputation is in danger. When your reputation is at risk, you can’t compete and you definitely can’t sell – an intimidating prospect for a burgeoning business. So why should you be proactive in your PR?

By incorporating a PR strategy into your marketing and sales process, you’ll be able to see four things:

  1. A better return on investment (ROI) for your marketing dollars. People that are already familiar with you are more receptive to your marketing message.
  2. A lower cost per lead. An educated consumer is much easier to attract.
  3. You’ll see a speed up in your sales process. Educated and familiar consumers are much faster and easier to close.
  4. More business overall. More people reaching for you, more people calling you, more people interested and comfortable in doing business with you.

People want to spend their money where they’re sure they’re going to get a good product, and be well taken care of. When consumers spend their money on your products or services, they’re hanging their hat on your reputation. Marketing is supposed to sell. Sales is supposed to sell. But people don’t want to be sold. They want to buy. PR puts people in the mind frame to buy. Sources that they consider credible – whether it’s the news, whether it’s a key influencer, whether it’s a V.I.P. or even a celebrity – that tells them that you’re experts and that you know what you’re doing. It gives them key information about how your services and products have helped other people just like them. When they get that information, they believe it. It’s a third party endorsement and that’s the reason why they buy from you. They’re more receptive and more comfortable and more willing to trust a company that has other people vouching for it. That’s how you put consumers in the mind frame to buy.

Your battle today is battling to influence consumers’ minds.

PR is your tool to use to break down the reactions and the emotional barriers that people have to being sold something. PR not only fuels your marketing, but it boosts your sales – and that’s your leverage in the new economy. Give PR precedence over marketing – and make PR work with your marketing to generate sales.  The rewards of PR are plenty – the main reward being more people more interested and comfortable in doing business with you.

PR requires experienced professionals to take a proactive approach. Here are some tips to remember when considering a new PR campaign, or what I like to call “Media Manners”:

  1. Focus on the needs/wants of the journalist – not yours.   Journalists are not interested in your product or services. What they care about is what your company can do for others – cultivate relationships with the media over time and the coverage that you are looking for will come.
  2. Make announcements a news hook.  Make your message timely and relevant to what is happening in your industry or the world – tie to an angle that is getting substantial coverage at that point in time.
  3. Maintain availability—even if you are busy.  Journalists on tight deadlines need sources to quote as soon as possible – the first to respond usually get featured and are depicted as credible.
  4. Be truthful.  Journalists are often excellent lie detectors – if you lie, or even mislead them once, not only will they never write about you in a positive way, they will likely share their experiences and deter other media professionals from forming relationships with you.
  5. Don’t be afraid of controversy. Be too diplomatic and your message will be lost to bigger, more exciting news stories.

The above are some very basic steps to getting accustomed to the way the media works – but strategic PR campaigns are best undertaken with a PR expert with the means to lay the groundwork.

Contact JoTo PR today to begin helping your company reach its full potential.