The Importance of Public Relations to Businesses of All Shapes & Sizes

Does your business have a public relations strategy? Do you think that applying just a marketing strategy is enough for your business? No matter how small the business, a public relations strategy is essential to your success.

What is the difference between marketing and public relations? Marketing is traditionally viewed as promoting goods and services to be sold to a consumer at a profit. Public relations promotes goodwill and communication between the company and consumer. Good public relations builds relationships with your customers. Public relations is a component of your marketing strategy; a company will be more profitable through communication and relationships with customers.

How does a small business do PR? Public relations is not just for large corporations—even a small business benefits from good public relations. To have good public relations does not mean you need to hire an expensive PR firm. To develop a plan, think about your audience. This includes more than just customers. Additional members of your audience may be local media or employees. Use these additional resources to communicate your message.

Don't shy away from media, but instead use it as another tool to communicate and reach a larger audience. By hearing positive information from a third party, consumers are more likely to engage in communications with your business. If an employee enjoys working for a company, that person may tell others about the good work of your business. Your internal communications are just as important as your external communications.

Also, think about how your audience wants to communicate with your company and receive information. Your message must be timely and well thought-out to impact your audience. Be sure to include a crisis communications strategy in your plan. In a crisis, PR can go a long way to show the public that you are open and honest. How you handle a crisis will determine how your business or brand is viewed in the aftermath.

PR is more than writing a press release.
In today's public relations field, professionals utilize more than the traditional press release. PR professionals commonly use social media outlets to convey their message to the public. Social media is changing the public relations industry as it allows businesses to communicate with a larger community. Instead of sending a message to just your local audience, businesses can now communicate globally. As the scope of public relations increases, professionals need to adapt and take advantage of new avenues to communicate with the public.

Join a professional organization. Professional organizations in any field offer opportunities to learn more about current and upcoming trends in your profession. Such organizations are great opportunities for business professionals to gain knowledge on multiple topics through regular organizational meetings. These organizations provide knowledgeable speakers and resource links to assist professionals. A professional organization also allows you to network with individuals in your field and find out what other companies are doing to enhance their public relations. Research an organization or attend a meeting before joining to find the best organization that meets your needs. iBi

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