Is Public Relations Right for Your Business?

Posted by A. Smith on Jan-20-2011

About a month ago, I had a colleague who runs an advertising agency call me for advice. One of his long-term clients wanted to know whether public relations might be a good option. Off the top of my head, I suggested his client go through a three-step discovery phase. Nothing I said was planned, but when I hung up I realized other people contemplating the same question might appreciate what I had to say.

So, if you’re wondering whether PR might be right for your business, here’s a simple yet effective discovery process to help you decide:

  1. Story identification
    Explore what stories your company has to tell. Start by interviewing people inside your company. You’d be surprised what people have to say and what ideas emerge. Brainstorm. Talk to people individually. Hold an open session where people can bounce around ideas. Look at the past and consider your company’s back-story. Envision the future and what ideas might come of it

    The key here is to DIG. Every organization has stories. Uncover them.

  2. Channel distribution
    Increase the value of your stories by creating opportunities to leverage them. Yes, pitch your stories to the press, but have additional outlets for sharing them, as well. Consider blogs, social media, guest posts, etc. Think about ways you might be able to weave stories into speaking opportunities, annual reports, and so forth. This will help you determine whether you can get your stories out to more people, as well as get more bang for your buck.

  3. Relationship building
    Reach out to the press to get a feel for what’s possible. Contact an editor or reporter at a relevant publication and explore the possibilities. Could you do a column or an advertorial? Do they sponsor an event that you might partner with them on? Are they willing to meet for coffee? What are the opportunities for building a relationship and getting press coverage?

At the end of this process, evaluate whether public relations makes sense for your company. Do you have solid footing, good stories, and a strong foundation for moving forward? If so, build public relations into your overall marketing strategy. If not, you’ve determined this is not an area to spend your time, energy, and money.

Quite frankly, though, companies who take the time to work through this process – and unearth their stories – typically find public relations has great merit.

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