Whatever your impression of PR has been previously – maybe a waste of money, time and resources for your business – it is time to rethink. Allocating time to develop a good PR strategy is as important as ever for the growth of your small business.
PR is essential in creating brand awareness. A problem that many small businesses face is lack of exposure and lack of credibility. PR is a cost-effective way of improving your SEO (search engine optimisation) and getting your brand name and mission out there. Creating brand awareness is important for your small business as it brings your business into circulation and gives the allusion of being a bigger, more established business than you actually are – potentially helping you secure partnerships or other deals. PR allows you to have a continuous and good quality media presence, and if you are willing to spend the time, can even be free!
More importantly than brand awareness, PR allows you to create brand credibility. Identify your target audience and use your business-specific knowledge to set yourself up as a leader and authoritative presence in your sector. Traditional media is still a very effective and trusted environment, and comes with more authority than social media or advertising. Unlike bigger companies, small businesses may find it more difficult to gain a certain level of authority, but putting aside some time to develop a carefully thought out PR strategy can be very beneficial in gaining exposure and developing credibility, and positioning yourself in relationship to your competitors.
Building on this, PR is important for your small business as it is a highly effective way of getting new and retaining loyal customers. According to the Journal of Marketing a referred customer is 18% more loyal than one gained through other methods. PR is based on the idea of instilling trust in potential customers of your product or service – if used correctly it can be perfect for creating a trusting brand from the beginning, and even in creating a community of customers who would happily recommend your business to their friends.
A piece of PR coverage has more staying power and value than other methods of marketing, and is a lot more cost effective! People are becoming more disenfranchised with regular marketing through advertising. According to a Nielson report, trust in regular advertising has decreased over the past couple of years. The report states that people are tired of conventional advertising and are more likely to go to their friends for recommendations on services or products. Influencer marketing is becoming the new main form of marketing and while you may not be able to get a celebrity to use your product in their next Instagram post, you can still create trust in your brand on a smaller scale, by getting coverage in a local newspaper or a regional magazine.
By keeping these things in mind when creating your PR strategy you are also preparing your business to deal with the possibility of bad press. Having posed yourself as an authoritative presence in your sector, gained credibility and built a loyal customer community you will be ready to cope and deal with any bad situation that may come your way. In short, your small business needs PR in order to grow into a successful and reliable business.