By: Andrea Bordelon
There’s an old saying- “Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.” So true, isn’t it? Especially in this day and age when 140 characters has become a forum for which to get our information from. Public Relations is one of the oldest forms of marketing there is.
Official Definition: “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” In other words, being a great storyteller, unlike advertising, which tells a story visual or otherwise thorough paid means to reach a specific audience, a PR person is working with their client to cultivate a story to reach not just their clientele, but the general public through unpaid or earned sources, such as traditional media, social media, and speaking engagements. Endearing the public to the company or services is the goal, whether it is to boost the reputation or to mitigate damage weakening the reputation.
For example, if a company is trying to get the word out about a new product, service or policy, they might hire a PR specialist to source outlets for this information. The PR person might contact the local news to write a story, or set up what we might call a “PR Stunt” a staged event for the company to participate in to curry favor and good will amongst the public. It’s not a direct sales pitch, it is more about showcasing the company in a good light that will garner a good reputation and public sentiment. And, of course, the end result is that company will be more familiar to everyone and therefore a credible source to buy from.
How can you be a more effective P.R. person for your business? Pretty much the same way. Last month in our newsletter we partnered with Alternatives for Healing, a directory that showcases alternative medicine. Getting in the directory, writing articles, getting on the talk show with them to talk about what you do is a great PR move. There are many magazines, talk shows, blogs and other sources for this type of publicity. Another way is volunteering your time and service to different charities, non-profits, organizations and groups that could use your help and expertise. Help a veteran. Clean a beach. Feed the firefighters. Give sessions to Alzheimer’s patients. Wear your company shirt while doing it. Not only are you helping them, you are spreading the word about how effective your medicine is to those in need.
You might even become a buzzword. Create a great story!
Andrea Bordelon, BCPP