Many entrepreneurs would love their companies to be famous—on the front page, on TV, a viral sensation.
And all too often, many of these same business owners seek a magic bullet. Create an advertising campaign, they ponder? No, too expensive. Rebrand? Not yet, because we like our image, colors, story and logo. Invest in public relations? Maybe that's it! But what exactly is PR—and is our business ready?
The definition of public relations, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “the business of inducing the public to have understanding for and goodwill toward a person, firm, or institution; also : the degree of understanding and goodwill achieved."
Now, what business doesn't need a little better understanding and goodwill these days?
Sounds simple enough: Induce the public to have goodwill and a better understanding of your business. But is it time to embark on this effort, whether it's in-house or an outside PR agency? Does your business have what it takes? Here are five signs that your business might be ready for PR—or rather, is prepared to introduce your company's goodwill to the public.
1. Your target market is defined.
Whether your company has been around for 10 seconds or 10 years, you need to know who you are selling to. You and your team have done extensive research on your target market. In order to spread the love about what your business has to offer, understand who you are talking to and who, more importantly, is willing to listen.
Some companies have been lucky for years and love the idea of actually asking (surveying) their most loyal clients on what is working. Your PR job will become much easier when you have a defined target.
2. You have the budget.
Before you start seeing dollar signs or rolling your eyes, a PR budget depends on the size of your business. There must be a realized budget. Fees and salaries of agencies or staff must be accounted for, but more importantly, you'll also need a budget for out-of-pocket expenses—headshots of key staff, samples of your products for the press and potential clients and marketing materials like brochures, look books and proper signage.
3. You know how to prepare and plan.
Consider this: Materials and products are in the pipeline for launch, the store you are opening has permits to start construction and you have a website designed and almost live. You don't need a crystal ball—just set and deliver on realistic dates and have a plan in place for your entire business. Without that, a PR plan can be very difficult to set and deliver on as well.
4. You have a call-to-action.
Goals are good, but a clear call-to-action is great. ROI is nothing without a clear idea inviting the press and your customers into your business. Make it daily, quarterly, online, emailed or snail-mailed—just give clients a reason to come to you. If you know your target audience, you know where they are and what they like. Ultimately, the goal of PR and any marketing efforts is to help sell your products or services. And to do that, you need a call-to-action.
5. You have the time.
Time is hard to come by, especially as a small-business owner. Can you carve out time to answer media requests and sit down for interviews, time to advise on pitches and time to work with a PR person? Public relations takes time. When you decide to engage in PR, whether it's with an in-house team our outside agency, make sure you and your company has the time to commit.
Effective public relations can be an important component of business growth, if your business is truly ready. Are you ready to engage and ready to induce some goodwill?
For more insights on how one company turns trending data into actionable pitches, access our exclusive video series, A Data Driven Approach to PR.