By Karah Vanderwarker
“I have a solid marketing team,” “I’m not in the midst of a crisis,” “My sales are good as is,” - all excuses for slacking on public relations efforts. The truth is, consumers don’t just want products or services. They now want businesses they can connect with. They want to hear a story and you have to tell it. Can you operate with minimal or no PR? Sure. Are you going to gain traction or get ahead? It’s not likely.
Several elements fall under the umbrella of managing public relations. PR professions typically handle a business or organization’s public affairs and manage the relationship between them and their community or their investors. They work to organize media events, such as press conferences, and head the response when something goes awry and crisis communications are in order. You can also find members of the PR team behind the scenes, writing press releases, blogs, or articles and lobbying for their placement in the media. Also, don’t forget their responsibility of securing credentials or coordinating media contacts for an event or conference.
PR is often referred to as “free advertising” but it is actually a costly, time consuming and labor intensive process. If that’s the case, why exactly is good PR so important? For starters, it’s one of the most effective ways to build a brand. You want to be the first person a consumer thinks of when they think about your field. Also, you want to be able to quickly communicate with your target market about new products, initiatives, or other major announcements and maintaining and managing an open dialogue is critical for that. Public relations allows you to tell your brand’s story in a personal way that an advertisement that has been carefully tailored to encourage sales may be able to. It can build your credibility and show customers that you understand and acknowledge their needs and requests, perhaps in a way that your competition does not. Reminding them that you care makes them, in turn, feel more comfortable supporting you and your mission, be the support with their time or their hard earned money.