Thomas J. Madden, Chairman and CEO, Transmedia Group
Vitally! Probably the best return you’ll ever get on an investment in your business is what you spend on PR.
It maddens me when I think of all the businesses who believe the only way to sell is to advertise. They think of PR as just putting on a respectable face, making your company look decent, wholesome, caring and full of integrity.
No my friends, PR can be as effective as advertising at generating sales. This is of course providing you have the right PR firm. In fact, public relations should be an Essential Cornerstone to any Business Plan.
Think about it. Chances are the last time you made a purchase you used a search engine to do online research. PR helps you to capitalize on this process.
An article in an online news outlet, a broadcast clip posted online, or a news release distributed to web outlets – all of these provide valuable inbound links to your website that increase your rank in Google.
A news release distributed by PR Newswire, a service we’ve been using effectively for 30+ years, is delivered to practically every media point in the U.S., to more than 5,500 websites and to online services such as Yahoo!, AOL and MSN.com. The release also can target individual reporters, bloggers, influencers and commentators who specialize in your industry.
According to Wall-Street.com, when small business owners create a business plan they often include advertising, but neglect one of the most cost-effective methods for small businesses to make waves, raise awareness, build their brand . . . and sell!
Why? Because we’re bombarded by so much advertising each day, so it’s more familiar, but many are unaware of the role PR plays in the articles we read and the interviews we see on television, which probably were generated by PR.
I think I know something about the power of PR. The PR firm I founded over 35 years ago, TransMedia Group (www.transmediagroup.com), has won practically every PR award and recognition there is. We’ve done exemplary campaigns and crisis management for some of America’s most successful companies. And we’ve helped make owners of businesses we’ve promoted billionaires, like Carl DeSantis who sold Rexall Sundown for $1.6 billion after our publicity helped make many of Rexall’s nutritional supplements the number-one sellers in the years they were introduced.
We’ve helped large companies like AT&T and our publicity has helped to make even small companies giants in their field.
So why not give your messages the impact of breaking news as we do for our clients. You do this by having your messages delivered by credible third parties such as news media rather than relying exclusively on self-serving advertising.
In most cases, PR is much less expensive and can be incredibly valuable, especially to small businesses with tight budgets who typically will get more for their money when choosing PR over advertising.
If you’re a small business weighing the benefits of advertising vs. public relations, here are some reasons why you should consider making public relations a cornerstone of your company’s growth strategy.
When a consumer sees third party coverage of a product or service, it is perceived much differently than a traditional advertisement. Most people block out many of the ads they see because they know the company is trying to sell them something and being blatantly one-sided with facts.
When a third party, such as the media, endorses a product or service, the company gains credibility, stature and vast numbers of consumers, who are much more likely to make a purchase based on third party endorsement than an advertisement.
A consistent PR program, which includes social media plus well-crafted media pitches and news releases, will help build general awareness of your product, service or brand and will supplement any direct marketing and advertising efforts.
The visibility that only effective PR delivers tends also to make your business appear larger and more established, which may help you secure partnerships, customers and funding.