How Public Relations Can Help Your Small Business Grow

PR: An Essential Cornerstone to Every Business Plan

When small business owners create a business plan they often include advertising but neglect to include public relations, one of the most cost-effective methods for small businesses to raise awareness.   I think that the reason is simple – we encounter advertising on a daily basis so it is more familiar, but many are unaware of the role that PR plays in the articles they read. In most cases, public relations is much less expensive than advertising, and can be incredibly valuable to a small business.  Depending on how hard you’re willing to work, PR can even be free.  Small businesses have tight budgets and will typically get more for their money when choosing PR over advertising.

If you’re a small business that’s weighing the benefits of advertising vs. public relations, here are some reasons why you should consider making public relations a cornerstone of your company’s growth strategy.

When a consumer sees third party coverage of a product or service, it is perceived much differently than a traditional advertisement.  When we see an advertisement, we know the company is trying to sell us something.  When a third party, such as the media, endorses a product or service, the company gains credibility.  Consumers are much more likely to make a purchase based on third party endorsement than an advertisement.

A consistent public relations program will help build general awareness of your product, service or brand and will supplement any direct marketing and advertising efforts.  This visibility also tends to make your business appear larger and more established than it may be, which may help you secure partnerships, customers and funding.

Chances are the last time you made a purchase you used a search engine to do some online research.  Public relations can help you capitalize on this process. An article at on online news outlet, a broadcast clip posted online, or a news release distributed to web outlets – all of these provide valuable inbound links to your website that increase your rank in Google. A news release distributed by PR Newswire is delivered to more than 5,500 Web sites and online services such as Yahoo!, AOL and MSN.com, and the release can be further optimized for search engine visibility utilizing keywords.. 

PR is also good for your bottom line. PR is much less expensive than advertising and the benefits of PR can be much more substantial than the benefits of advertising. One good media placement can lead to a substantial increase in sales and tremendous growth, and because many small businesses have a unique story to tell, they are interesting to the media.

There are a multitude of challenges facing small businesses and entrepreneurs.  To reduce the challenge of jumping into PR, PR Newswire has built the PR Toolkit, which is designed specifically for small businesses and entrepreneurs who have little or no PR experience.  The PR Toolkit provides practical tips and actionable advice to help lay the groundwork for a solid public relations strategy.  Some of the resources and tools you will find in The PR Toolkit include:

FAQs
Covering the most elementary questions such as “What is a news release?” and “When should I issue a news release?” while addressing more advanced questions like “How can I use social media to generate visibility for my business?”.

Writing Tips
Features writing style requirements, guidelines for headline formats and writing tips for feature news. Includes examples of news release makeovers.

Educational Articles
Topics include how to reach multicultural markets, steps for getting your experts quoted and ideas on how to use the calendar to generate media coverage.

Testimonials
Examples of how small businesses and entrepreneurs are using public relations to generate visibility and grow their businesses.  

News Release Templates
News release and news advisory templates, and sample releases, for those small businesses and entrepreneurs that need step-by-step assistance with constructing their news release

Demos and Webinars
Pre-recorded product demonstrations and Webinars to help you better understand public relations on your own schedule.

Check out the PR Toolkit online at: http://www.smallbusinesspr.com/
 

Upcoming Events

Sept. 8, Cleveland: Content Marketing World 2014

Mon, Sep 8, 14, 13:00 ET

Date: September 8 -11, 2014
Location: Cleveland Convention Center, 300 Lakeside Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44113

Special Offer:
PR Newswire members may use promo code UBM to receive $100 off the registration rate.

About the Event:

Content Marketing World is the one event where you can learn and network with the best and the brightest in the content marketing industry. You will leave with all the materials you need to take a content marketing strategy back to your team – and – to implement a content marketing plan that will grow your business and inspire your audience.

Over 80 sessions presented by the leading brand marketers from around the world covering strategy, integration, measurement. Keynotes include Oscar award-winning actor Kevin Spacey, Kraft Foods’ Julie Fleischer and Brandscaping author Andrew Davis (CMW 2013’s Top-Rated Speaker).

Be sure to stop by the PR Newswire & UBM Tech CREATE booth (#11) for a chance to win a Nike FuelBand!

To obtain more information about this event, click here.

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