This is one story about PR and small businesses. Read How small companies do PR and what big companies can learn from them, 5 Things big companies know about PR that small businesses can learn from them, PR firms should avoid startups, and Why small businesses struggle with PR firms for more.
When you combine smart spending with strategic planning, your company wins
In 1971, two teachers and a writer in Seattle opened a shop to sell coffee, teas and spices for customers to take home and brew on their own. That was the birth of Starbucks. Facebook began in a dorm room and was only meant to be a method of communicating between Harvard University students. Every business starts small, but thinking big can bring you incredible success. Sometimes, all it takes is the right mix of bold courage, hard work and good public relations.
Bill Gates once said that if he had only one dollar left, he would spend it on PR. Indeed, medium and large businesses invest between $75,000 and $250,000 a year on PR activity. Unfortunately, many small businesses don’t recognize the value of PR and they tend to underspend. In deciding how much you want to spend on PR, just ask yourself: How successful do I want to be?
What you get from PR and how it translates to success
You may be wondering how your business can manage to pay for public relations. The truth is that you can’t afford not to.
In a recent survey of businesses by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, almost half of the respondents agreed that PR and communication contributes to their financial success. It can be the same for your company when you use PR for some of the following activities.
Media relations. Just like Starbucks and Facebook, every company has a story to tell. People won’t buy what you’re selling if they don’t know you are there. These days, you have to go a step beyond that and also get customers to trust and like you. News stories and articles, written by professional journalists, act as a third-party endorsement for your company. Studies have shown that people trust news stories more than any advertising or marketing message you can create. When prospects see that others think highly of your product, they will be more likely to make a purchase, thereby increasing your profits.
Crisis management. All businesses will face a crisis at some point. Yours may not be on a far-reaching scale like General Motors or the NFL, but it could be serious to you and your customers. Someone getting hurt or killed as a result of your product, a misstep by senior management or bad behavior from employees is enough to bring unwanted attention to your door, and the best defense is to be ready.
Research has proven that more than 40 percent of companies that face a major crisis don’t survive it. With help from PR, you can learn the right things to say and the best decisions to make to get through a crisis and back on the track to growth.
Online reputation management. Today, customers are more likely to find and learn about your company online. In fact, it’s proven that customers go through approximately 60 percent of the sales cycle before ever talking to a salesperson. If they find negative information during a search, they will simply choose your competition instead.
It is vital that you know how your company appears online, clean up any damaging information and help to direct the conversation in your favor. Social media communication and monitoring as well as reputation management can keep customers happy and ensure that they remain engaged with your company (not your competitors) for increased advantage and profits.
Why a PR firm is the way to go
With so much riding on it, PR work is not something you should put on the back burner, leave to the last minute or take for granted. It requires effort, knowledge and dedication, which many small businesses don’t have time for; so, it’s best to trust the right PR agency.
At Axia Public Relations, we offer fair, no-nonsense pricing so you know exactly what you are getting. To begin, we implement a four-month trial period and a price that you agree to upfront. That’s just one of the reasons why more than 90 percent of our clients would recommend us to others. To see what we can do for you, contact us today to learn about our value package, featuring our Review Master program.
Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business and technology PR. Lisa has worked for Axia since December 2013. Learn more about Lisa Goldsberry. Connect with Axia on Twitter @axiapr or tell us what you think in the comments below.
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