Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Public relations should be part of your marketing mix

Glass shops and window and door companies typically invest significant sums in local market advertising to promote their businesses.  But many of these firms are missing one of the most important ingredients of any successful marketing mix: public relations. 

Here are just a few reasons why public relations should be a frequently used arrow in your marketing quiver.
  1. No one can tell your story better than you.  In the absence of a proactive public relations strategy, you risk letting someone else establish your brand identity in the marketplace.  Whether that’s the media, your customers or – worst of all – your competitors, no one should be allowed to define your public image other than you.  A well-crafted series of timely press releases and article submissions can enable you to break through the clutter and distinguish your business from the competition.  Embracing social media and establishing a corporate spokesperson as a respected authority in your industry and/or local market can further elevate your brand and position your shop to capture a premium share of the market.

  2. It’s cost-efficient.  A sophisticated PR campaign can be executed at a fraction of the cost of most advertising campaigns.  Advertising – broadcast, print and even online – can be very expensive, particularly in larger markets.  PR placements, often called “earned media,” can result in editorial visibility in the same news outlets in which you advertise without virtually any out-of-pocket cost.  Many small- and mid-sized firms have found that diverting as little as 10 to 20 percent of their advertising budgets to public relations pays significant dividends in terms of increased name/brand recognition, enhanced image and new customer recruitment.

  3. It’s more credible.  Advertising is paid self-promotion, and consumers are rightly skeptical of it.  Public relations carries the imprimatur of a third-party endorsement, which dramatically increases its credibility.  As a rule of thumb, a positive article written about your firm is worth five to 10 times the value of the same amount of advertising space, simply because the editorial placement is more likely to be read, and believed, by the audience.

  4. Building relationships with reporters can make all the difference.  The time to develop positive relationships with the news media is not when disaster strikes.  Reaching out to reporters in your area, as well as within your industry, when times are good can pay huge dividends in times of crisis.  One of the most effective ways to develop a level of trust and positive rapport with the media is by helping reporters working on deadline.  Always return their calls promptly, even if you aren’t certain why they’re calling.  You can always diplomatically decline to answer their questions, or ask to go “off the record.”

  5. It’s a virtuous cycle.  A robust PR campaign goes beyond generating positive headlines.  The more visible you become, the more the press will seek you out for your expert opinion on other pertinent stories, which further increases your media currency.  A high-profile local glazier could be seen as a third-party expert on the residential construction market, for example.  An auto glass professional could be asked for his explanation about how the windshield protected a family from harm in an ugly car accident.  In addition, media hits can dramatically improve your web site’s search engine rankings.  The more online mentions of, and links to, your company, the higher your site will appear on Google and other leading search engines.
Ladd Biro
Champion Management WDDA NGA
    Ladd Biro is president of Champion Management LLC, a leading marketing and public relations agency.  For more information about the NGA’s new PR services offered through Champion, please email or call 972.724.3039.

    No comments: