Public Relations is simply accurate, consistent and timely communications that convey the right message to the right audience. This is true across-the-board for businesses of any size. OR “any activity that creates a positive image, fosters good will, or increase sales.

What’s the importance of PR?

  1. Media Relations and Publicity: Two closely related terms that define the goal of using the media, television, radio, newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and the Internet to sell your product or service through news articles, interviews, and product reviews.
  2. Special Event Planning: Special PR events can include fairs, trade shows, conferences, parties tied to a business theme or relevant holiday, dedications, and celebrity appearances.
  3. Public Interest and Image Building: Fast-growing companies may ally themselves with local charities, sponsor youth sports, and take other steps to communicate their commitment to community and social responsibility.
  4. Increase Sales: By targeting a pool of potential buyers, you can build visibility and thus grow your client base. Each time people read your company name and associate it with something positive, it will reinforce their awareness of your firm and help them differentiate your company from your competitors.
  5. Build Credibility: Business startups often need to build their credibility quickly to compete with more established rivals. By positioning yourself as an expert in your field, you can attract media attention and serve as a quoted source in published articles. As you give interviews and get quoted, professional associations may ask you to give speeches or participate in panel discussions, thus solidifying your credibility.
  6. Forge a Customer Relationship: Emerging-growth entrepreneurs will tell you that it’s not enough to win a new customer. You need to convince a newcomer to come back and buy more. By aligning your PR campaign with your goal of attracting repeat business, you can build consumer confidence and trust.  Example: By profiling some of your best customers on your Web site, you send a message that you value your clients and share a stake in their success.
  7. Penetrate New Markets: When you enter a new market or launch a new product or service, you need to alert potential buyers that you’re open for business. Effective PR can draw them in and educate them about what you offer.
  8. Attract Investors: Good PR can introduce you to a range of investors. By presenting yourself as an authority who operates in the public eye, you show potential backers that you’re a leading spokesperson in your industry. Better yet, an ongoing PR campaign helps you craft an image as a long-term player in your business, rather than someone who’s testing the waters and may not stick around. Investors like to see this type of commitment.

6 Essential Elements to Consider for a Successful PR Campaign

  1.  Audience or Publics – A group of people to whom your company needs to be responsive and responsible. This includes customers, prospective customers, colleagues, employees and their families, government representatives, shareholders or investors and your neighbors.
  2. Goals of your campaign – What is it that you hope to achieve? Do you want to attract new customers? Enhance your company’s image and reputation? Create closer ties with the community? Educate the public about your industry?
  3. Medium of communication – Print journalism? Broadcast media? Your Web site? Word of mouth? An exhibition booth at a community event? A billboard?
  4. Framework of your campaign – What steps need to be taken in order to achieve your PR goals? What is the outline of your PR campaign? How long will the campaign be? What is the budget? Which staff members are to be involved? What needs to be done
  5. Activities – The actual steps taken to advance your cause and achieve your goals such as giving a speech, donating to a charitable organization, sponsoring a community event, organizing a blood drive, or giving your employees holiday bonuses.
  6. Phrasing of the message – What are the reasons why your business is involved in the particular activity? What is it that you want to say? Why was this public relations campaign developed? Public relations messages are different from advertising slogans.

Tips for Creating a Successful Campaign

  • Think through your audiences– Surprisingly, even large corporations often fail to realize who their audiences actually are. I define “audience/stakeholders/publics” as an individual or group who has any interest or stake in the activities of the business. This can reach far beyond just your customers. It’s likely that your audiences include the local media, your neighbors and surrounding community, current/ former employees and their families, vendors/suppliers, government regulators/agencies at several levels and your competitors. And remember, audiences–friendly or not–have the power to communicate information about you.
  • Develop a PR plan– need not be complex, consists of a few steps:
  1. Objectives – identify your goals and what you want to accomplish for your business.
  2. Positioning – decide how you want to be perceived by your audiences.
  3. Key messages – prioritize the most important facts about your business.
  4. Strategy – How to accomplish your objectives
  5. Tactics – Tools or means to carry out your plan e.g. press releases, speeches, articles
  • Develop a relationship with and use a local media- the media are always on the lookout for a new story, a different angle, a fresh approach and therefore, potentially interested in you and what your business is all about. They may very well need you and what you have to say about your field.

Author: Mercy Njiru