What Is Public Relations? A Guide for Businesses

The average public relations specialist makes about $61,000 a year. Demand for these positions is going to grow by 7% over the next few years.

If you’re a business owner, you’re looking for ways to set your business apart from the competition. You experimented with pricing strategies and promoted your business on social media.

You probably haven’t tied public relations to get the word out about your business. What is public relations and how can you use it in your business?

Keep reading to find out.

What Is Public Relations?

Public relations is the process to create a positive public image for you and/or your business.

The primary process behind public relations is to get earned media. Earned media is press coverage that is “earned” instead of paid.

These are usually expert quotes in an article or an article about a product launch. This process is important to create a perception in the public’s mind about your business.

Another area of public relations is crisis communications. This is like doing damage control. An example of crisis communications is working to improve a company’s perception after a major data breach.

How does PR differ from advertising and marketing? These are all terms that are used interchangeably to describe activities to get your business known.

There are a number of differences between these strategies.

Advertising is the use of paid media, such as social media ads, to generate attention for a specific product or service. Advertising targets the audience that’s most likely to buy the product or service.

Marketing is the big umbrella that refers to every piece of external communications. Public relations and advertising are subsets of marketing.

Public relations is solely focused on the image of the business or person. The primary way to measure PR is by looking at the amount of coverage you get.

Benefits of Public Relations

There are a number of benefits of public relations. The main benefit is trust. People no longer trust paid ads, and they certainly don’t trust the information on social media anymore.

A survey in Britain found that 69% of people there turned to traditional media outlets for information. They trusted those outlets more than other forms of media.

Coverage in news articles helps instill trust in your audience.

It also gets them to purchase with the right type of coverage. Remember the times when you visited a restaurant because you read about them in the local paper.

An appearance on Oprah or a major news outlet can make your sales explode.

One other thing that small business PR can do is help your SEO. You can send press releases with links back to your website through one of the major newswire services.

How to Use Public Relations to Your Advantage

What is your goal for public relations? As you can see, it can do anything for your business. Make sure you’re clear about your goals and how the goals fit with the strategic vision of your business.

You also need to make sure that your business is ready for a public relations campaign. What would happen if your business gets major media attention?

Is your business ready to handle the demand? If not, then you might want to scale back your campaign and focus on your local area before going nationwide.

You could cause a PR disaster if you launch a campaign, get coverage, and can’t fulfill orders.

Know Your Target Market

How well do you know your target market? This helps you narrow down the outlets to pitch. Consider the blogs they read, magazines they subscribe to, and social media accounts they follow.

If you’re not sure, you can always ask a few customers about their media choices.

It’s not just about the people you want to purchase your products. You have another audience to consider.

Think about the reporters and editors who will look at your pitch. What are they looking for in an article? You can’t afford to overlook their needs as well.

Focus On Relationships

Public relations is more than sending an email blast with your press release attached. You need to develop relationships with reporters to get

How do you find reporters and track those relationships? You can use a spreadsheet and research the opportunities yourself.

That’s time-consuming and you might miss opportunities. There are small business PR tools like Just Reach Out outreach software that does a lot of the work for you.

Most software tools have an existing database to connect with editors and reporters. You can craft and send your pitches to reporters most likely to cover your business.

Have a Great Story to Tell

Give reporters a great reason to cover your business. You can’t simply say that your business is great and you deserve coverage.

You have to have a unique angle that reporters find compelling. Take the time to think about why your business deserves coverage, communicate that well, and you’ll find PR success.

Have an Integration Strategy

What makes public relations so effective is that it integrates with your marketing and advertising campaigns. You have control over the messages conveyed to the public.

An integrated strategy helps you align your messages. It also helps you promote events, and keep campaigns consistent.

Small Business PR Tips

What is public relations? It’s not to be confused with advertising and marketing. It’s the strategy businesses use to improve their public image.

This gives them credibility, makes executives thought leaders, and generates interest in your business. Growing a business isn’t easy, but PR can give your business an edge.

If you found these small business PR tips helpful, you’ll want to take a look at the other articles on the blog. Check them out today!

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.