Although public relations should be a critical part of every marketing plan, hiring a public relations person or agency is a luxury most startups can’t afford. Most small-business owners have a DIY-PR plan in place until that strategy is no longer doable. When you’re juggling all the responsibilities and tasks small-business owners have to do, more often than not, PR takes a backseat, which is never a good idea.
Good PR takes a specific set of skills that you might not possess – even if you do, it's likely not the best use of your time. Think about hiring an experienced PR person or agency to act as a conduit between the media and your brand.
Here are some considerations before you start your PR search...
- Can you communicate your business goals to another person?
- What are you hoping to gain from a PR person or agency?
- Do you feel you have hit your limits in reaching your target audience and need new outlets?
- Do you have the budget to outsource PR?
Weigh your options. Will a good PR campaign attract more business so you can afford to hire PR help? Or will hiring a PR person cost so much it hurts your cash flow? Before you make a final decision, go over the numbers with your accountant and decide on a specific amount of money you can afford to spend. Ask the PR professionals for an a la carte list of services and start small. You can always reassess after a few months to see if you can afford or need more.
PR experts are not only marketers – they also know what journalists want and they have the connections you need! The goals of your PR campaign should include…
- Crafting a positive reputation for your brand.
- Educating your market about you, your business, and your products or services.
- Attracting new customers to your business.
- Supporting other aspects of your marketing strategy.
A PR campaign involves writing press releases, compiling relevant media contact lists, constantly following up, keeping track of responses, and dealing with the media once there is interest. Ask yourself if you or someone on staff has the time and skill to get it done right. If not, it’s time to start looking for a PR person.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at [email protected], follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva's free TrendCast reports.