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The following bylined
article was printed in
part in the national
Discover Card's Inside
Biz Newsletter.

The newsletter circulates
to 1.3 merchants nationally.

 

PR Can Help Keep Your Numbers Trending Upward

By Maggie Chamberlin Holben, APR

All too often public relations is viewed simply as product publicity and a support tactic of the marketing effort. This article is intended to broaden your perspective and outline ten ways that public relations contributes to bolstering your revenues - either by adding directly to the coffers or helping avert major losses.

PR 101, a quick review

As a primer, public relations looks at all the target groups - often called "publics" - who influence the success of your company or organization. These include, but are not limited to, your customers and the media. Examples of other publics are: employees, stockholders, neighbors in the communities nearby your facilities, legislators, people or organizations who like/dislike you strongly, industry analysts, and bankers or venture capitalists who fund you.

Just as important as a well-crafted news release is to a media publicity effort, so too is research necessary in understanding, and in turn influencing, the thoughts and behavior of all your target publics. Research can run the gamut from a review of secondary data to sophisticated opinion polling and baseline studies.

Now that we understand the PR playing field, here are ten ways PR can help increase revenue or avoid loss:

1. Cultivating Third-party Endorsement

It's said that advertising is what you say about yourself or organization, but that PR is what others say about you. How true indeed, because PR has the power to create positive "word of mouth" and influence referrals and recommendations. This "good buzz" can increase sales, encourage acceptance of change and attract investors.

2. Fostering Awareness

PR tactics inform, educate and, in turn, increase awareness of your organization or products. Whether your focus is a new product rollout, fundraising effort or stock offering, public relations has the power to impart complex information and rapidly spur awareness, acceptance and increase sales.

3. Encouraging Employee Enthusiasm

Employees, regardless of job function, can and should be the best PR ambassadors for your organization. Properly encouraged and informed, your people play a key role in molding your image and propelling your organization forward. Ignored, you've simply missed an important opportunity. The bonuses of cultivating your "internal" public include improved morale and increased productivity.

4. Providing a Heads Up!

Regardless of which target group you focus on, PR research tactics - including both competitive intelligence and Internet information gathering techniques - can help you anticipate important issues and concerns. The sooner you are aware of dissatisfaction or threat of any kind, the better you can respond and limit, or alleviate, negative effects.

5. Improving Things Overall

Just as PR research tactics can effectively identify or anticipate problems, they can also identify targets of opportunity. Feedback provides insight into new markets, highlights trends regarding new products or features desired, and provides suggestions to improve existing products, services or methods.

6. Minimizing Damage

PR offers an effective framework for responding to an unexpected event, such as a disaster or attack of any kind. By taking a proactive stance, you can protect your organization's position, retain support of key publics and maintain "business as usual" with little or no downtime.

7. Providing Executive Perspective

Public relations helps senior management maintain a fresh, enlightened viewpoint about their organization. Objective research and counsel from outside the firm guards against tunnel vision and executive isolation. In turn, the CEO and other senior management can understand what's really happening in the market, be more realistic, competitive and able to make more knowledgeable decisions.

8. Causing Positive Change

No one wants to change, despite the fact that change is the one constant in the world. PR tools provide ways to overcome natural resistance, promote a smooth transition and provide information and reassurance to affected publics. Cushioning change with positive PR tactics helps avert downtime and negative impact to your organization.

9. Doing Good Deeds

When working closely in the public eye, your reputation often depends on your interest and involvement in key issues of social concern. PR can help identify these issues and create a successful strategy of response. This can include support of public interest projects through sponsorship, volunteerism and contributions.

10. Eliminating Political Barriers

PR can influence policy in the public sector or among special interest groups in the community. Through public involvement, coalition building, lobbying and grassroots campaigns, you can win approval to enhance your organization's mission and continued success.

There you have them. Now it's time to put PR to work for your organization. The only thing left to do is to apply measurement standards to your PR efforts, but that's a topic for another article.

About the author:
Maggie Chamberlin Holben, owner of Absolutely Public Relations and www.online-presskit.com, is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America and is a member of the PRSA Counselors Academy. A Denver native, Holben relocated from Wichita, KS, in 1997 where she was vice president of client services for The Lida Groups. 

Link to Maggie Holben's article in the national InSide Biz Newsletter - scroll to page 2

Article in the national InSide Biz Newsletter

 
 
 
 
 

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