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Public relations: not just a big business game

When I first came to Australia knowing no-one, Public Relations (PR) was one of the main tools I used to build my business. While I still believe in the power of PR, it has evolved dramatically since I first began. Furthermore, it is still being mythologised, leaving business owners uncertain as to how it works, what’s involved and how much it costs.  The myth is largely fuelled by old schools of though and the perception that it is the domain of big businesses with large marketing and PR departments and budgets.

The good news is PR is based on common sense and “good” PR (although sometimes hard to come by) can grease the wheels of your business and importantly, make it easier to conduct business. As a business owner, PR should be in your kit bag.

Maybe you are thinking of starting PR, or you have dabbled but not had much success. Or maybe you are already knee-deep in working with an PR agency and celebrating your success. With any of the above scenarios, you need to ask yourself some simple questions:

  • Who do you want to talk to in business and are you in front of them?
  • What do they read? Look at?
  • Where do they spend their days? Work time? Leisure time?
  • What will attract their attention?
  • And what do they need from you?
  • What top 3 things can you provide?
  • What are the top 3 things you want them to know?
  • What is special about what can you do for them?
  • Who thinks that what you do is really good? And is prepared to endorse you?
  • Where is your competition appearing and what are they saying?

All the answers to the above questions are helpful in forming a PR plan and they are also helpful to check in with every now and again to track how you are doing.

PR broken down

PR is used as a strategic tool to communicate between organisations and their publics. Good PR will be mutually beneficial for both consumers and businesses as it assists all parties in effectively understanding each other. The reason we do PR is to create positive public awareness of something, whether that something is a product, a company, or a person (personal brand). So it is about pro-actively building a brand in front of those who could buy or influence a decision to buy.

The value of third party endorsement

The rule of thumb is that PR is “earned’” media within the traditional art of storytelling. Publicists build relationships with the media and work with journalists to create appropriate, timely, and relevant editorial content in a format they can use best.

Unlike advertising, where advertisers pay for ad space, PR has more credibility and stands as third party endorsement. PR is about you providing value-adds to journalists or bloggers or influencers around insights, content, user experience, product news or tips.

How does it work?

PR doesn’t miraculously appear and like any relationship, it takes time to build. The deliverer of any news to a journalist should be authentic, on message and respectful of the journalist’s interests, agenda and time.

When your coverage lands, you can do multiple and exciting things with it. Your online coverage can provide links to your website and you can post the coverage on websites, social media, or send it out in newsletters, emails and SMS broadcasts. Either way you can draw it to the attention of your customers, prospects and team.

The takeaway

PR is a tool there for the taking for businesses of all sizes. Review your own efforts and if you haven’t started already – now is the time.

About the author:

SharonSharon is a pioneer in the Australian marketing and public relations agency industry. She is a CEO, Fellow of the PRIA, international speaker, personal brand expert, entrepreneur, mentor, marketer, media commentator and frequent mainstream editorial contributor. Under Sharon’s leadership and entrepreneurial flair, Taurus is now recognised as one of Australia’s highest profile agencies, offering unparalleled levels of service to global corporations including Advance, UTS:INSEARCH, Appster, Napoleon Perdis and Clean Up Australia.

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James Harkness

James Harkness

James Harnkess previous editor at Dynamic Business

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