Public Relations and Your Business

Building and maintaining a relationship with customers is essential for every business. To benefit your business and get the word out about certain products being offered, you may often utilize advertising. While both advertising and public relations are valuable, in the small business world, it can be more important to invest in public relations (PR).

Advertising vs Public Relations

Though the goal of both advertising and public relations is to drive attention to your business, the key difference between these two is that in advertising, businesses must pay for advertising space, such as online banners or billboards. In the case of public relations, results are earned by way of pitching to the media. The two also differ in target audience, objectives, control, strategy, and credibility.

While advertising focuses primarily on potential customers, the focus of public relations is to reach a wider audience that can be internal and external and include employees, customers, investors, and influencers. Advertisements are also often aimed to promote a single product, while PR can cultivate larger brand awareness. On the other hand, businesses can have more control over advertisements, as success largely depends on what you spend. In comparison, PR means less control, as the media will influence how your information is presented. However, advertising has mainly short-term goals, while public relations is geared toward the bigger picture. Consumers are also generally more skeptical of advertisements, as they know information comes from whomever is paying. PR is more likely to be trusted, as information comes from the media, a trusted third party.

Why is PR Important for Small Businesses?

Brand awareness is important for the success of any small business. Being smart with your marketing and considering the most cost-effective choice is essential to maintain your success. Public relations offers you that cost-effective strategy, as advertising can quickly become pricey. In comparison, an initial investment in public relations through press releases can grow in value over time!

Public relations is also essential for effectively growing your client base and brand awareness. By aiming at a broader audience and building connections with those inside and outside your industry through PR, your small business has a greater potential to grow in success. This larger awareness of your business also helps cultivate your reputation, which can lead current customers to trust your business and encourage others to patronize you, too!

How to Create a PR Pitch

When crafting a public relations pitch, it is first essential to consider who to send your pitch to. Finding the appropriate reporter can be the difference between a high and low level of success. Rather than pitching to several contacts, invest your time in researching outlets or contacts that best fit your information. You may also consider sending it to a paid wire service for added exposure.

You message should be clear and concise by the time you make your pitch. Spend time crafting an angle that would hook not only the reporters you’re pitching to, but also their readership. Making the reporter’s job easier, sometimes by also offering a complete press kit or additional information post-pitch, will benefit you and can help drive the story.

Another strategy in creating a PR pitch is by thinking long-term about reporters. By first introducing yourself and building relationships, you can identify yourself as a future resource and increase your chance of success. You can use this later when considering who best to send a pitch to, or when selling to each reporter individually to give them a reason to develop your pitch into an article.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh-based marketing consulting firm providing senior-level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development strategies, website creation and management, social media management, marketing, strategic planning, and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

LinkedIn Live

In our increasingly digital world, online networking and tools have become more important than ever. One such resource, LinkedIn, also offers LinkedIn Live, a service which can allow you to “build deeper connections and drive more engagement with the world’s largest professional community.” The platform allows users to stream live video content to professional audiences.

Based on your experience with streaming, you will choose a third-party streaming tool or be offered LinkedIn’s custom stream tool. After connecting the streaming tool with your LinkedIn page, you can begin planning and considering the best practices for your live video’s ultimate success!

LinkedIn offers 5 key strategies for using this tool:

  1. Be prepared
  2. Be authentic
  3. Be consistent
  4. Be flexible
  5. Be engaged

You can also benefit from LinkedIn Live’s built-in metrics, which will allow you to easily measure engagement, awareness, and audience firm demographics. By expanding your reach and knowing your numbers you can better target your message to decision makers within company.

How to Leverage This for Your Business

By streaming on LinkedIn Live, you can reap the benefits of gathering as a community in real time. LinkedIn Live can be used to offer viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the people behind your brand, to help you launch new products or services, demonstrate your expertise, attract employees, and more!

While recent struggles and guidelines have made live gatherings difficult, to the detriment of many businesses, one of the most valuable features of this service is that you can make it interactive! On average, these live videos get 7x more reactions and 24x more comments than “native video produced by the same broadcasters.” This tool can serve you and your business well into the future by allowing you to engage with a much larger potential audience in new and exciting ways!

LinkedIn also offers several helpful links and guides to assist you on your journey to becoming a LinkedIn Live expert and growing your business! To start utilizing this awesome tool, fill out LinkedIn’s application now!

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh-based marketing consulting firm providing senior-level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development strategies, website creation and management, social media management, marketing, strategic planning, and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

Fall into a New Season of Business

Moving into Autumn means the leaves are changing – and your business may be too! As we enter the fourth quarter of this fiscal year, it is essential to consider what you may need to do differently so that your business finishes strong and is prepared for 2022.

As business owners, we must remain relentless and determined. If you find your business is not achieving what you want, you must be willing to adjust and try out new strategies. Rather than getting wrapped up in how you may have performed in the past three quarters, make this fourth quarter your opportunity to get innovative and try out something different to finish the year strong.

Is your business reaching a new cycle of growth?

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, we are currently in longest business cycle on record. While this has meant consistent growth for many, it also indicates that we may be nearing the peak of this growth and an upcoming downtick. According to Harvard Business Review, applying a market-creating strategy, focused on generating new markets, will allow your business to maintain its growth even as the business cycle changes.
Rather than relying on strategies that focus solely on outperforming existing rivals, a combination of strategies can allow you to enter a new cycle of growth and maintain that growth in the future. Growing your business requires patience, but it also requires determination and focus. By strategizing and planning for the future, you can grow your business and keep it steady even in the face of an economic downturn.

Are your strategies for reaching potential customers working?

As business owners, we often must think of new ways to reach potential customers that allow our businesses to continue to grow and thrive. But we also cannot forget to maintain our relationships with our current customers.

According to the Small Business Association, you can reach potential new customers, while still nurturing your current customers by applying these 10 strategies:

  • Ask for referrals in active ways when following up with customers
  • Network through organizations and events in your industry and relevant to your customers
  • Offer discounts and incentives for new customers only and track those who redeem the offer to target with future marketing
  • Re-contact old customers, who haven’t recently purchased from you, on a regular basis
  • Improve your website to ensure it is up to date and attractive to new customers
  • Partner with complementary businesses and strategize ways to benefit each other
  • Promote your expertise through industry panels or online workshops
  • Use online reviews to your advantage, such as by linking to them on your website
  • Participate in community events to raise your profile and get your name out
  • Offer “bring a friend” deals to allow regulars to introduce potential new customers

By implementing different strategies, you can allow your business to reach a wider customer base and grow your success. These can allow you to also grow on a consistent basis and maintain a strong loyalty with your current customers. As you enter the 4th quarter and work to finish strong, keep these strategies, and us, in mind!

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior-level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development strategies, website creation and management, social media management, marketing, strategic planning, and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

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