One of the universal truths of PR is that it can help anyone, any company, any business in any industry. There is not a single commercial enterprise that cannot benefit from the power of public relations, and the scope of PR is limited only by the scope of the media.
Advertising is constantly changing, and what works today will likely not work tomorrow. Advertising resides in the realm of paid space, and so its only purpose is to serve the needs of the advertiser.
Public relations, however, is more of a constant, because it almost always focuses on the collective public interest. Public relations resides in the realm of the news media, so is primary purpose is to serve the needs of the consumers of media. That is why PR is so much more vital than advertising.
While there are reams of research that detail how consumers largely distrust advertising, I prefer the viewpoint that PR has more value because of the power of the third-party verification. The news media will never outwardly endorse a product, service or company outside the scope of specific product reviews, but the fact that they have seen fit to interview you or quote you or your company is an implicit endorsement. It means that you were important enough, smart enough or compelling enough to offer you free space to make your point to their audience.
But how do you know if you’re a candidate for PR? Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you certain that most people in your potential customer base even know your business, products, or services exist?
- When you talk to potential customers or clients, do they have a strong understanding of what you offer?
- Are your current efforts reaching and resonating with your target audience?
- Is your advertising or marketing program performing well, based on what you are spending?
- Are you getting more coverage in the media (TV, radio, print or Internet) than your competitors are?
- Are you using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media to reach out to potential customers?
If you answered no to all or most of those questions, then you should strongly consider PR as an option to help direct more people and qualified business leads to you and your company. The bottom line is, we can all use more business, and good marketing is something successful businesses always find a way to afford.