Excited to be a guest blogger today on PRWeb: http://www.bloggingprweb.com/everyone-could-use-pr
Excited to be a guest blogger today on PRWeb: http://www.bloggingprweb.com/everyone-could-use-pr
I was reflecting recently on what led me down the path to a career in PR. I started writing at an early age, just for fun, poems and journal entries, even short stories. That love of writing led me to a role working on my high school paper, where I reported and edited stories. My long-term career goal was to someday write a column for a magazine. I went on to study Journalism at The Ohio State University, where I wrote for The Lantern and learned so much about the news business. I elected to focus on PR as my area of concentration. At that time, I think I liked the way it sounded, more than anything. “Public Relations Practitioner” had a ring to my young ears!
Since then, I’ve come to truly embrace PR as a profession and have developed a real passion for getting my clients “ink.” To me, there’s no professional high like getting my client in a news story. I honestly get EXCITED about this, because I know what it can mean to a company. Many times, it gains momentum and leads to other media opportunities. It puts them on the map in a way that’s tangible. Once that story appears, it’s forever…and there’s no end to the ways it can be leveraged and the ways it can benefit the client company.
It can lead to more customers, more prospects, more funding, more exposure, more attention, more visibility, and a sense of pride for employees, vendors and current customers who love seeing the name of the company in the news. With social media, stories can go viral, meaning the snowball effect is amped up even further.
For those who have a passion for PR, like I do, it’s a way of life. One sees everything through the eyes of a reporter, which may be why I’m always trying to cut to the chase. What’s important about what you’re telling me? What information must one need to know? How can I say this so that anyone can understand what I’m trying to convey?
I guess at the end of the day, although PR always had a certain ring to it, I never knew I’d grow to love it as I do today.
In my work as a PR specialist, I often notice things perhaps others don’t.
For example, walking through a mall on my way to meet someone for a lunch appointment, I noticed a sign about an upcoming event that would appeal to parents in the area. I thought, “Hmmm, why haven’t I seen/read/heard about this before?” The event happened to be coming up that very weekend…and I’m just now seeing it. So how many others who’d be interested won’t see/read/hear about this before the weekend? This happens to me frequently, leaving me to wonder, “Why doesn’t everyone see the value of PR?”
There are many situations where I think a little PR could’ve helped an organization or event immensely. Here’s another example: I recently attended a local charitable event—a major undertaking to plan and prepare–that would’ve benefitted from better communications. Meaning that after folks signed up to participate, they should’ve heard regularly from the organizers. I signed up and received only one email confirmation. I never heard back before the event with any buzz-building messages or updates. Did it affect the turnout? Yes, unfortunately, the event suffered from a poor turnout, despite all the planning and preparation that went into it. Better communication would’ve yielded much better results and helped the organization reach its goals.
These are just a couple of examples of how better PR could help even the smallest of organizations. There are, in fact, many instances that take place in our day-to-day lives when I’m left wondering why someone didn’t do a better job of promoting this event/product/service? It’s plain to see that a lot of time and effort went into the initiative; why didn’t someone spend just a little more time getting the word out to the masses?
PR is getting the word out about your event, your service, your product, your customers, your new hires, and so on—it’s spreading the news about your company or organization. Oh, and here’s another key point: Other than the time it takes to create the message or content and contact those who publish the news (or self-publish it via social media channels and your site), PR is free. That’s right, FREE! If that doesn’t get your attention, than what will? Unlike paid advertising, you don’t pay for the space. PR also goes hand-in-hand with your marketing efforts, so that any content created can be tweaked and repurposed, meaning you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
So, if you’re taking the time to plan an event, launch a new product or service, hire someone, or do something else newsworthy, why hide your light under a bushel? Get the word out—shout it from the rooftops if you have to!–but make sure to include PR in your planning efforts.
Putting the finishing touches on my presentation for the Worthington Chamber’s SOHO group meeting tomorrow: http://worthingtonohcoc.weblinkconnect.com/CWT/External/WCPages/WCEvents/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1481
Looking forward to sharing tips about how small businesses can do their own PR. It needn’t be expensive, and there are many initiatives SOHO folks can pursue on their own, if they have the know-how. Hoping they’ll leave empowered and inspired to score their own media “hits”!
Hooray for enterprise software startups, back in the funding spotlight and deservedly so! “Venture capitalists placed $2 billion with IT startups in the first quarter of this year, according to a survey by Dow Jones VentureSource, a 14% increase from the first quarter of 2011. Meanwhile, investors put 76% less investment in consumer internet companies. Software companies attracted the most funding, $1.3 billion, which is a 61% bump from 2011.”
These startups would be wise to invest some of this in communications, including writing and PR, to help gain visibility and draw customers their way. There are some cost-effective ways to do this, such as booking speaking engagements for C-level executives, participating in award programs for products and services, and leveraging customer success stories to win more business. These efforts can be driven internally or through an experienced pro, who can set up and/or manage initiatives. All these initiatives can be leveraged in numerous ways to build visibility and credibility, especially important for fledgling startups.
I read this blog piece today and while it may be common knowledge to some, it bears repeating–PR can help a startup succeed–or fail: http://bostinno.com/channels/why-pr-is-a-startups-key-to-success/
Here’s my favorite quote from the post: “When startup ventures first break ground in the business world, they lack exposure to potential customers or the media. This is where public relations steps in. While roles change from place to place, PR experts are generally responsible for communications efforts, maintaining the company’s positive image, and gaining exposure. This can include pitching to media – journalists, bloggers, etc. – to get a product or service recognized, creating brand recognition, or hosting publicity and networking events. It’s not just the old fashioned way of press releases in startup success. Ventures need exposure to all outlets, whether that be a client or customer. Good exposure can drive a company straight towards victory!”
You have your accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the list goes on. Now, you need content to push out through all those social media channels, as well as for your site, and perhaps even for your customer or employee communications—but where do you get this content? Who creates it? Where does it come from?
Leverage what you already have, such as company news—new hires, new partnerships, awards your company has won, speaking gigs your executives are participating in, new products or services, new customers, customer successes, events your company is participating in and so on. The stream of possibilities is endless, if you take the time to look for newsworthy items.
Then, you need someone to write the content. Think everyone’s a writer? Wrong! I’m so often amazed by the number of typos I see in business communications. Typos mean more than just a misspelled word or a missed punctuation mark. They make your company look unprofessional and weaken your credibility. Make sure to use a strong writer, if that isn’t among your talents.
If you commit an hour or two per week to plan and craft content to use in your various channels, you’ll be surprised at the results. If you don’t have the time or the ability to create the content yourself, consider hiring a professional business writer to craft the content for you. Once you have it, It can be repurposed in a number of ways, making your minimal investment of time well worth the effort.
Check out yours truly speaking at the Worthington Chamber SOHO meeting June 28! The topic–PR 101 for small businesses, tips and tricks to do your own PR cost effectively: http://worthingtonohcoc.weblinkconnect.com/cwt/External/WCPages/WCEvents/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1481
I attended a workshop at Columbus Business First today to learn more about its Social Media Madness challenge. You can learn more and enter your company at http://www.bizjournals.com/socialmadness/. Entries will be accepted until May 15. Companies ranging from 1 to 500 employees can enter. The grand prize winner in each “bracket” (1-100, 101-499, 500+) will receive $7,500 for its favorite charity! Seems like a great way to get some buzz going about your company and give something back!