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Public relations is the practice of managing relationships between a company or organization and its audiences. The essential functions of public relations, according to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), are research, planning, communications dialogue, action, and evaluation. Although it is often compared to advertising, these two marketing resources are not the same. Public relations involves a third party outlet that usually offers more legitimacy to the campaign than advertising does.
If implemented correctly, public relations can have a positive effect on your business. It helps to create awareness about your products or services, but more importantly, your brand. Public relations can help expose your business to a whole new market that you may have been neglecting. In order to implement the best and most effective PR campaign, there are some rules that you can follow:
1. Know your market and be able to identify the product benefits that pertain to your market.
The more narrow your market is, the easier it will be to identify which media sources will be most beneficial to you. Also, you want to stress the benefits of your product to this target market; if they do not believe your product or service will be beneficial to them, they will not purchase it.
2. Go after the media that is used most widely by your target market.
For this, try to get as specific as possible. Do some research to find out which types of journals or magazines your target market reads, or which radio stations they listen to the most. Getting your message proclaimed over these media sources is crucial.
3. Exploit the uniqueness of your product or service.
What differentiates it from others? Why is it better? Most importantly, why should customers buy it from you and not someone else?
4. Do not underestimate the power of testimonials.
Testimonials are, without a doubt, one of the most powerful ways to enhance credibility. In promotions as well as editorials, testimonials can be a great way to get customers' attention. Just make sure you use them tastefully!
5. Create a press release that sells.
Make sure you come up with a catchy headline to get the readers' attention. Remember, less is more. You want to make sure to include everything, but be blunt and to the point. It may be a good idea to put all of the important stuff in the first paragraph, as many people may not read past the first few lines. Also, if applicable, use a photograph! Many customers may be more interested in your release if there is a photo attached.
6. Follow up and stay connected.
Make sure to call and confirm with your contact that your press release went out or if more information is needed. Then, once your message is released, stay connected with your contact and wait for some feedback. Be careful not to be too pushy though because if your press release has something to offer, it will sell itself.
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