Have you ever heard someone say, “PR is the same thing as advertising. It is a one-off thing and does not have any impact on the growth of my business.”
I have heard this time and time again. And these are just two of the biggest misconceptions regarding the role of public relations.
Small businesses and startups use their industry expertise and focus their efforts on running and growing their company. They are generally dedicating time and energy to networking and successfully managing daily operations.
They may believe that being “small” means public relations is not an important part of their growth strategy. Some founders may think PR is even a waste of money. Yet, businesses and brands that have benefited from effective PR know it’s simply not the case.
Here are five public relations myths that are simply not true:
Myth #1: PR is too expensive.
PR, much like advertising, if done correctly can support goals and generate exposure for a brand and offering among its target audience without breaking the bank. Yes, there are large firms out there that charge hefty retainers. However, smaller more focused PR firms can tailor a PR program to a small business budget.
When vetting PR firms, ask about three or six month retainers and avoid locking yourself into annual contracts.
Myth #2: I have nothing to say in the media.
There is always something to say. If you are out there networking with potential clients and taking part in presentations at conferences, you definitely have thoughts about what is going on within your industry and about your business.
For example, you may have a strong opinion about a news story relating to your industry. Maybe you’ve conducted an internal customer survey that unlocked key insights. That is marketable.
Myth #3: PR cannot generate leads.
Positive media exposure can create a buzz around your firm. Consistent coverage in key media outlets that matter the most to your audience can result in more inquiries about your company and services. PR has the potential to produce leads for your business. A targeted PR strategy should reach your audience with the right messages so they can take action.
Myth #4: I can do PR myself.
For some, this is an approach business owners have attempted. The results of doing PR alone may have not paid off from distributing a press release over a paid newswire.
Although press releases are an important tool in getting out news on your company, one press release per year will not cut it. Researching media contacts, media list development, and following up with contacts on a regular is an important part of a solid PR strategy.
Myth #5: I do not have time to devote to PR.
Running a business takes 100% of your time and a PR strategy, initially, requires some time commitment. This is true. However, once a PR strategy is in place, it can work like a well-oiled machine.
PR strategy is not always an easy conversation to understand. PR is a service that requires experience in storytelling, relationship building and content development to position companies and their founders as credible and experienced sources.
Once contacts have been made, relationships have been built and content has been developed, it’s up to the PR firm to push the process along and keep the momentum going.
This article has been edited and condensed.
With over 18 years of experience in media and public relations, Rosalia Scampoli is a Senior Media Director of Marketcom PR, a B2B-oriented communications boutique committed to helping clients achieve the results they need to sell more effectively in their marketplaces. Ms. Scampoli develops and manages communication platforms for clients across a variety of financial services, nonprofit and B2B industries. Connect with @marketcompr on Twitter.
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