Do it Yourself PR

Consider your company’s needs and goals and put together an individualized PR plan that works with your overall marketing and sales strategy

Properly used, public relations can be a most efficient and cost effective marketing tool.

Haphazard or unfocused public relations can become a great, and expensive, waste of time. Getting the most from your public relations efforts isn’t difficult. But it does demand discipline and above all, focus. When properly executed, the PR effort that goes in at the beginning will more than pay off at the end.

PR Can Help Your Bottom Line

When your customers and prospects read about you in the press, they automatically perceive the information as objective. This is true even if it’s an article your company put together with the specific aim of showing off your capabilities.

PR also can help assert your position. It’s a perfect tool for positioning your company and services and gaining positive recognition among your key customers and prospects.

Public relations can help you prime the market and create demand for your services. To you, the benefits of your new equipment or capability may be blatantly obvious, but if it truly is something new, the benefits take some explanation. Your PR program can help the press and your potential customers get used to the idea of your service, and want it.

Finally, a well planned PR program can spread your news to the four corners of your market. When you develop a relationship with key trade press editors, both print and online, you have an excellent chance of getting your newsworthy announcements published and read by your most important prospects and customers.

You can’t control the exact timing of PR. Further, you cannot absolutely depend upon specific results. Public relations is not advertising. Paid advertising appears when and where you pay to have it appear.

Many companies keep their public relations programs in-house. Unless you are a major corporation, maintaining a full time professional PR staff is usually out of the question. In most firms that try in-house PR, it becomes someone’s part-time, and usually unwelcome, job.

This kind of PR effort often consists of sporadic, usually tepid, press releases to an out-of-date mailing list. And the result? An occasional mention that misspells the name of your shop or the service you are offering. Needless to say, it doesn’t do much to build recognition or credibility with your potential customers.

Make or Buy

I have a radical suggestion when it comes to PR: Do what needs doing, no more, no less and no nonsense. Focus on your marketing strategy and market position and on how to communicate it effectively to the market. Often PR is a viable piece of that communication process. Your marketing communications grow out of your strategy and position. Because of minimum retainer fees, PR agencies sometimes produce far more material than you really need. Spending tens of thousands of dollars on saturation-level PR is probably not the best way to improve your bottom line. Before you start spending any money on additional PR, make the most of the capabilities you already have.

You may have some in-house resources that only need direction and supplementation. Or you may have a PR agency that needs only to be tuned-in to your very specific marketing strategy and steered in the right direction. Then again, you may have no PR resources at all and need a complete, focused, affordable PR program from beginning to end. Consider using a freelance PR expert. Good ones can often be found on websites such as elance.com.

Before you do anything, consider your company’s needs and goals and put together an individualized PR plan that works with your overall marketing and sales strategy to give you bottom line results. Identify specific projects that can help you meet your goals and consider how to carry out those projects as efficiently as possible. A strong PR program isn’t hard to come by; it just takes some creativity and effort, as well as discipline and flexibility.