It seems like everyone uses Public Relations these days. From politicians to rock stars, the press covers them all and the social media world amplifies the message. The question is, can you get that same coverage and “buzz” about your business? The answer is “yes” if you use Public Relations wisely.
At its core, Public Relations is the act of getting someone else to communicate your message. That means the press, word of mouth, or social media are all great ways to get the word out about your business. The good news about PR is that you don’t have to pay for it and you get the implied endorsement of an objective third party because someone else is spreading your message. The bad news about PR is that you don’t have control over the message or the timing of the message. The old adage of any PR is good PR is just not true (just ask Tiger Woods or the leadership at Penn State).
Here are 5 ways to use PR prudently to get the word out about your business.
1. Ask for Testimonials. Let’s face it, your best customers are your best PR. Personally ask your top 12 customers to write a testimonial letter for your company. Feature one letter every month in all of your company’s communications, both internally and externally. This showcases your best customers and makes them the center of attention in your organization. Do you think they will tell their colleagues and other prospects? The answer is most likely yes.
2. Ask for Referrals. Your company probably gets a good number of referrals from your satisfied customers. That’s great, but can there be more? What if you personally ask your top customers to refer your company to someone. Ask each member of your sales force to do the same thing…every month. Happy customers usually want to share their experiences. You might be surprised how many new prospects you will get just based on this simple request. This is PR at its best.
3. Made Your Company a Resource. Every company wants to be a partner to its customers or clients. The best way to cement the partnership is to share relevant information. Does your company have a blog that is updated regularly and includes valuable information? For example, if your company is in the food distribution business, your blog can include information such as food safety tips, sales training tips, routing tips, etc. Blogs are a great way to engage your prospects and customers and position your company as a subject matter expert without putting on the hard sell.
In addition to writing a blog, your company can conduct online seminars or webinars. Tools such as “Go To Meeting” make it easy and inexpensive to communicate with people that are in remote locations or don’t have the time to go to a specific location. You most likely have several people in your organization that would be excellent subject matter experts and could conduct regular webinars. This could also be an effective way to highlight customer success stories. Webinars a great way to get people involved and talking about how your company adds value to its customers.
4. Use Social Media. With the rising use of social media for personal and business purposes, chances are your company can use it to help spread the word about what your company does. Find out what social networks your customers use and get involved in the conversation. If you are in business-to-business, your conversation might be better suited for LinkedIn than Facebook. If your company doesn’t have a company page on LinkedIn, you should consider starting one. Then, post status updates regularly so that those that are following your company can hear about new products, webinars, blog posts, and other news.
YouTube can also be an excellent way to share product demonstrations, hear customer testimonials, or showcase your best employees. And, you can link your YouTube videos to your blog and your company’s LinkedIn page.
Social media will help you expand your reach and engage prospects and customers in the conversation about the things they wrestle with in their businesses.
5. Use Press Releases. Identify the top business publications and websites that your prospects and customers read. Make a list of the editorial contact people at each one. When you have news you want to get out to the industry, send out a press release to the people on your list. A press release is appropriate to send for new employee appointments or promotions, new product launches, new strategic partnerships, webinars, and other events. This is the perfect way to get your company’s name in the news.
Want to be the company that everyone is talking about? Use these PR tools regularly and you may be surprised how the word spreads.
In this blog, I would like to share my views and experiences concerning how those things in business that may well seem slight can have a sizeable effect on profitability. I hope you’ll share your opinions and ideas. Ask any questions you may have.