What is your perception of Public Relations (PR)?

What do you think a PR professional does, and how can a well-executed PR campaign help your business? I will answer some of these questions in this blog and hopefully dispel the myth that PR is an expensive, London-centric tool that can only be utilised by large fashion and tech brands.

See also: How to plan a PR strategy to make sure 2019 is your very best year yet

Small and medium-sized enterprises are reliant on their reputation, and PR is all about building, enhancing or protecting the reputation of your business by delivering carefully-crafted messages to the media, through press releases and cultivating relationships with journalists. How much PR is needed and when will depend upon several factors, such as what you sell (a product, service or venue), whether you are launching for the very first time, in your first year of business or have been trading for a while.

What can PR do for my business?

A successful PR strategy will deliver coverage in magazines, newspapers and online (that is where the line between PR and content marketing can get a little blurred, so we will concentrate more on traditional media in this piece), and editorial coverage in the media has a very important distinction to advertising.

A mention of your business in the media is viewed by the reader, quite rightly, as an endorsement from the journalist who wrote it. Readers are savvy at spotting advertising and ‘advertorials’ (where businesses pay for a feature article about a product or service) and have learnt to scan past them.

Editorial is the reason people buy newspapers and magazines, and a quote, review or featured product will give your business third-party credibility with readers that you can then shout about from the rooftops and exposure in publications that matter to your sector.

See also: Five key things you need to know about PR before you try it

I don’t have a big budget; can I afford to spend money on PR? And will it take up lots of my time?

PR must be viewed as an investment as it may not deliver a tangible return immediately. Sometimes press releases about small businesses and their products are picked up by large national or industry publications, and as a result, they sell out in a matter of days. For most small businesses, the reality is more likely to be an article here, an interview there and a steady increase in brand awareness, positive reputation and sales.

PR does work and if you have poured your heart and soul into your business, make sure you are being seen and heard everywhere that matters.

See also: Do you want to do your own PR?

And the cost and time commitment? Let’s face it, large agencies are more expensive and will often charge retainers to enable them to employ multiple staff, strategize for the future and maintain large premises. However, if your business is rural with a specialised and expert audience, or you didn’t build PR into your budget for 2018, take the time to find a freelance PR or small, agile agency that specialises in your sector. They should ‘get’ your business quickly and be able to communicate your ethos to the press without lengthy briefings and meetings with you. Smaller agencies are also more likely to agree to flexible arrangements that don’t tie you in for months or years.

Make sure you check back soon for the next blog in a series from Tara, our traditional marketing and PR partner.

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