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.

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