Why Do Public Relations?

Sections of this topic

    Do you have a new business, or a business that’s mature but needs some greater visibility? Are you launching a new product? If you’re a non-profit, are policy issues or board blow ups finding their way into the community you serve? Are you looking for new employees who understand what you do?

    These are just a few examples of why a company or non-profit (new, small or large), or an individual would undertake a public relations campaign. The goal of PR in general is to influence positive activities and outcomes related to what you do. If you’re a new business, what better way to create visibility than to do publicity. Nearly every city of any size has a business section of the daily paper, and many cities have weekly business publications and at least one monthly business magazine (in the media-rich area like Minneapolis-St. Paul where I’m based, we have three business magazines and two business weeklies — plus some specialty publications for banking and financial services!!)

    If your company is established but hasn’t been in the news lately and could use some fresh ink about your growth, new initiatives, innovations or perhaps an acquisition, consider sharing the news. Even new hires will get some notice in the business pubs. And don’t overlook something interesting one of your employees or your CEO might be doing.

    For example, a longtime client who founded an IT company specializing in Business Intelligence (BI), is also an accomplished photographer and has traveled on several trips around the globe to places like India for the annual Camel Fair and Kabul with the world-renowned National Geographic photographer, Steve McCurry (best known for his haunting “Afghan Girl” portrait), doing photography seminars in-country. Think that story didn’t get told here …..a lot…? Putting another dimension on business people helps show their human side and helps keep the company name in the public realm.

    New product launches scream for a PR campaign, especially if it’s a consumer product that we all need — or a new twist on an old one. For people involved in public policy issues, there are many tools in the PR toolbox to help clearly portray your issue or message to constituents, legislators, targeted associations, neighborhood groups or other special interest organizations. We’ll cover both areas more in separate, future blogs.

    Why not just buy and ad? Ideally you would tie a PR campaign to an integrated marketing program — providing you have the budget and advertising is an appropriate vehicle for what you are trying to accomplish. However — and I’m biased, of course — the return on PR is usually, 95% of time, much better. It has a longer shelf, life, it can be leveraged time and again and best of all, it has a third-party credibility that advertising cannot usually provide. Unless you have landed somebody like Michael Jordan, or the celebrity du jour, to appear in your ad campaign. Good luck with that.

    What do you think?