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Everyone Could Use PR

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.

Speaking tomorrow at the Worthington Chamber’s SOHO meeting

Putting the finishing touches on my presentation for the Worthington Chamber’s SOHO group meeting tomorrow:

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”! 

Michelle Garrett quoted in article on Carol Roth’s Business Unplugged site


Catch my advice here in the article,”Competition: Standing Out From the Crowd in Business”

Stay in Your Lane!

My top tip to make your business stand out–stay in your lane! This means don’t try to be all things to all potential clients or customers. If you have a specialty, make sure to make that your main focus. If you dilute your brand or message by trying to include everything you do and every industry you serve, you won’t attract more business–you’ll actually take the focus away from what you do best. In turn, you may not attract the type of clients you’d really prefer to work with.
Thanks to: Michelle Garrett of Garrett Public Relations.

Some good news for enterprise software startups in this article, “Enterprise Software Startups Make a Comeback”

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. 

Why PR is Key to a Startup’s Success

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:

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!”

Got content?

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. 

Social Media Madness challenge

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 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!

Let your customers tell your story…

Did you know that your customers are one of your best marketing and PR sources? Interview your happy customers to get quotes and even to craft customer success stories or case studies. Garrett Public Relations can help you leverage your customers in your PR and marketing efforts. Reporters always want to talk with customers when writing about your company, so be ready with some customer references to sing your praises!