A company lives and dies by its reputation.
The key to creating a good reputation is establishing a friendly repartee with not only your customers, but also the public at large. Initiate a healthy relationship and the public will come to trust and respect your integrity. Create a bad impression and the potential customer will be less likely to walk through your door.
Your company’s relationship to the outside world – this is public relations boiled down to its essence.
There’s an old adage: Advertising you pay for. Public relations you pray for. It’s true. Good PR is hard to come by. It’s not the same as ‘paid advertising’. You can’t get it by simply forking over some cash and placing an ad in the paper. The men and women of today simply will not be patronized and are far too savvy to be bought off by such cavalier tactics.
Good PR means working hand-in-hand with the media to spotlight the skills, resources and expertise that your business or organization can bring to the table. It requires a public relations firm that understands the ins-and-outs of print, television and online media and has a knack for developing story angles that are both newsworthy and favorable toward your products or services.
It’s true – no one can guarantee good PR, but with the right public relations partner, you can expect the media to focus on your company, its services and the messages you want to send to the outside world.
Getting the Message Out: The Three-Step Process
Messages are important. They are key to forming that good reputation we talked about. There’s just one problem: most audiences only remember two or three messages at any given time, if that. Burden them with too many messages and they may be inclined to move along elsewhere.
The moral of the story: develop a limited number of messages. Keep it simple. These messages can and will change from time to time, but you only need a couple of arrows in your quiver at any given point.
And how do you get that message out to a public that is ready and eager to learn about your business? The PR process is simple and can be boiled down to three steps:
- STEP ONE: WRITING. There’s something about the printed word that screams credibility. People believe what they read in black-and-white. An article or essay about your business – whether it comes from you or from a journalist writing about you – will help to establish your expertise in your field.
- STEP TWO: SPEAKING. When people hear you speaking in public about your field of expertise – namely the products and services that your company provides – it will reinforce the belief that you’re the real deal. They begin to trust that you know what you’re talking about. Speaking opportunities also enable you to meet with prospects one-on-one.
- STEP THREE: SELLING. Steps One and Two were all about ‘getting found’. They pointed potential customers in your direction. Step Three is all about convincing those customers to choose your company above all the others.
To sell more, ‘get found’ more. The reporter is your friend. He or she can act as a messenger to get the word out about what you have to offer. A good PR firm is your friend also. A professional can get you results with perseverance, experience and established relationships.