As many business owners know, starting your own company is no easy task. There are financial, logistical and personnel questions you’ll have to ask yourself and make moves on from day one. For example: How much money will you need to launch the business? How are you physically going to produce your products? How many employees will you need? What many entrepreneurs fail to ask themselves and consider from day one is “how much should I spend on marketing, PR and advertising out the gate?”
No decision is easy when it comes to elevating a business from the ground floor. Let’s speculate though. Let’s say that by some facet of luck, you somehow make all the right decisions financially, logistically and interpersonally during the infancy of your company. This business is your livelihood and your future. You have invested your money, your time, your emotions and nearly all of your other resources; you gave it your all and business is thriving. Without some sort of marketing and promotional strategy you’ll more than likely hit a plateau. It’s true. Why? If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, did that tree even fall in the first place?
Think about it: Public relations is so much more than what the general public tends to believe it is. The industry that I love and thrive in is not just about launch parties, meaningless press releases and helping businesses get likes on Instagram. In short: Contrary to public belief, public relations is not spin control! Smart, strategic PR should be part of your strategy from day one, and I’ll tell you why:
- You Need Clear Messaging – Gone are the days when your advertising team or marketing team owned the message of a company. Consumers are too smart to be sold on marketing jargon. They need real messages they can connect to. They want to connect to a company’s story, history, and purpose. A good PR person or team can help you uncover what that is from the start so it’s clearly translated onto your website, marketing materials, social media posts and yes, early press coverage. If your PR person can’t help you build a really great messaging platform from day one, run the other way and call someone who can. It will be instrumental to the success of your business or product launch.
- Strategic Story Building Rules – It’s not normal for a company to go from zero to the cover of Forbes Magazine overnight. However, with consistent PR, great traction in your respective industry and enough time, who’s to say it’s impossible? You have to start somewhere and be committed to telling your story in all stages of its lifecycle. It will build trust with your core audiences and it will definitely make your competitors jealous. Just kidding. Kind of.
- You Need the Impressions – Statistics show that it takes about 24 impressions for a consumer to make a purchasing decision. Whether it’s monetary or not, you want customers, clients or influencers to choose you as the brand of choice, right? Well, then you need to constantly be in the places they’re at to make a positive impact: social media, networking events, and in the news. Diversify all the ways they see you. And, with positive PR, they’ll see you in positive light.
- Because Your Competition is Either Using it or Not (either way, you need to be) – There are two scenarios here. First, if your competitors are out talking to media and doing a good job of it, you’re already behind. Get in with media and tell your side of the story so the people you want to know about your business see you on the same playing field, if not better. Second, if your competition isn’t using PR, you’ll already be in the lead by taking the initiative. EVERYONE can use great, strategic PR. Everyone.
- Cleaning Up and Catching Up Stinks – If you’re not incorporating PR into your marketing strategy early on, you’re either going to pick it up when a disaster happens or when you realize that NO ONE knows about the great product or company you’ve spent your whole life building. It’s always the case: employ PR and marketing last, when most funds are gone, and cut them first, when funds are scarce. As the great Bill Gates always said, “If I had one dollar left to spend, I’d spend it on PR.” Ever heard of a little company called Microsoft? I rest my case. Don’t wait till the last minute. Strategic PR is worth every dollar spent.
This guest post is courtesy of Nicole Rodrigues, CEO and Founder NRPR Group.