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The Importance Of Public Relations To Small Businesses – Essential Woman Magazine
Business Strategy

The Importance Of Public Relations To Small Businesses

Bukky Karibi-Whyte

Regardless of how effective an organization is, it doesn’t have the desired impact if the pub-lic and consumers are not aware of the busi-ness’s brand, successes or contributions.

public relations campaign that educates and informs people about the contributions of the organization en-hances its brand recognition and makes it more rele-vant in the public eye.

PR, (as issued by the Institute of Public Relations) is about “influencing behaviour to achieve objectives through the effective management of relationships and communications.”

What this really boils down to is creating a ‘buzz’ about your organization. It is about putting together a strategy to turbo-charge awareness and demand for you and your services, and finding new ways to highlight ‘must have’ features about your business by using indepen-dent press and credible third party views.

How do you create a Buzz?

You can create a ‘buzz’ by taking, for example, these relatively easy and straightforward steps:

Forming strategic alliances with appropriate small busi-ness partners to back the credibility and authority of your brand

Producing newsletters with useful information to small firms and Contributors from high-profile third parties

Conducting cost-effective research surveys, by negoti-ating them to be run in Conjunction with leading pub-lications

Securing early, heavyweight media endorsement and endorsement from analysts in order to inform and lead debate

Creating word-of-mouth buzz by tapping into existing publicity vehicles in the business community

Using other public relations tactics to generate ‘cre-ative standout’ within your sector

Public relations professionals do more than draft press releases and build relationships with key media repre-sentatives. They must also be familiar with the attitudes and concerns of consumers, employees, public inter-est groups, and the community in order to establish and maintain cooperative working relationships.

Public relations revolve around this universal truth: people act based upon their perception of facts. By managing, controlling, or influencing people’s percep-tions, public relations professionals hope to initiate a sequence of behaviors that will lead to the achieve-ment of an organization’s objectives. When those in public relations successfully create, change, or rein-force opinion through persuasion, their primary objec-tive is accomplished.

A Good PR Strategy has the following Objectives: Raises your brand awareness among your key audiences. Communicates messages to these audiences.

Differentiates yourself from the competition.

Positions yourself as an authoritative industry voice with an in-depth understanding of your market.

This is achieved by employing the following:

Identifying your relevant target audiences;

Identifying the best ways to reach your relevant target audiences;

Gaining positive exposure within your audiences; Communicating key messages to these audiences; and

Gaining a leading ‘share of voice’ compared with your competitors.

The Importance of Good Public Relations

1.) Products and Services

A good public relations campaign highlights a small business’ products and services through creative means. For example, a publicity campaign that high-lights a new product launch also promotes the business as a whole. A press conference held to discuss an ex-pansion has the added benefit of introducing key deci-sion-makers to the general public and putting a public face with the company name. These types of outreach efforts can help improve the overall impression of an organization.

2.) Innovation

A public relations initiative that touts a small business’ innovations can attract attention, investors and poten-tial business partners. Regular forms of communication in the form of feature news articles, public appearances els establish a small business’ place in their industry’s spotlight.

3.) Economic Impact

Regularly touting a company’s earnings, job creation and overall economic impact, can help establish it as an important part of a city’s economic engine. For ex-ample, releasing quarterly employment figures or con-tributing to economic development reports is an effec-tive way to show the benefit the company brings to the community. This can raise awareness of the importance of the organization and better position it for expansion funding and business-to-business opportunities, and even make it be seen as a viable employer.

4.) Internal Perceptions

Internal public relations campaigns have the potential to bolster staff morale, improve communications and motivate employees. Public relations efforts that keep all employees in the loop about company activities and strategic plans and invite feedback can get significant buy-in from employees. This can make them more supportive of the company’s efforts and more effective performing their jobs.

5.) Public relations builds up credibility

Public relations boosts an organization’s credibility, be-cause it will operate through numerous trusted inter-mediaries. In addition, these intermediaries communi-cate to a certain audience, which looks to them to filter out all inconsistencies. If messages are chosen to be communicated, they’ll gain credibility due to the inter-mediaries’ credibility.

At the end of the day, it’s all about achieving outcomes by increasing awareness, influencing attitudes and vi-tally, changing behavior to suit the organization’s ob-jectives.

Traditional and New Media Channels

Successful marketing happens when you achieve your goal by sending the right message and reaching the right market using the their communication channel (medium) of choice. Picking the right communication channel for your message will contribute significantly to the success of your message- reaching your market and therefore, it is important to understand the various communication channels available.

Marketing channels, also known as media are the deliv-ery vehicle for your message. These traditionally have included:

Publications – newspapers, magazines, journals Radio and television Billboards Telephones US Postal Service Face to face

New media channels are Internet communication vehi-cles including:

Websites / Blogs

Social media – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Email

Mobile Search Engine

Videoconferencing

Tips for budding Business Women & Entrepreneurs.

1. Get social … media, that is. There’s no doubt that so-cial media presence is important to a business’s mar-keting strategy.

“Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, social me-dia has proven to be a good conduit to business re-sults, including sales leads, third-party endorsements and purchases,”

And if you’re not familiar with social media, you take on-line courses to understand how to use such platforms to build up your business.

Quite simply, social media must be viewed as a forum for interacting with customers and conducting day-to-day business.

2. Use your networks. Being a small business owner is stressful, so use your network to form a reliable sup-port system. It helps to have a peer or mentor who un-derstands what you’re going through and can help you navigate any potential problems you may face.

Joining industry groups is a good way to create a per-sonal network of support. Professionals within these groups can provide a great sounding board for new ideas, frustrations and genuine dilemmas.

3. Let your home life inspire you. Many women entre-preneurs have the responsibility of taking care of their homes and their kids, too, but instead of succumbing to stress, women should derive inspiration from their do-mestic responsibilities.

Regardless of owning a business, many women already hold the title of CEO of the household. Managing the needs of a household, including children, spouse, mul-tiple schedules, school obligations, extracurricular ac-tivities, etc, is definitely akin to running a small business.

By translating what may already come natural to you in running your home, into the workplace, you can create a seamless transition as you try to balance it all.

4. Never stop searching. Don’t just use your existing network and resources — always stay on the prowl for new business leads. For small businesses, this is espe-cially important as the stakes are higher.

Knowing where to look for leads can make all the dif-ference. Industry groups are a great first stop, but only if you’re thinking of them beyond sources of support and camaraderie.

These groups, can do more than just help you gen-erate leads. They can also be a valuable resource for business development- whether you are keeping in touch with audiences that care most about your busi-ness, scouting potential talent or sharing knowledge you’ve gained in your area of expertise.”

In the end, it’s all about meeting people who will help you win new business or find prospective clients.

In conclusion, it is important to note that every business needs public relations, especially in the current pro-gressively dynamic business climate. The most impor-tant thing is ensuring the right audience is targeted, and making sure the brand sends out a clear and straight-forward message to its stakeholders.

For any questions or queries, please contact Bukky

Karibi-Whyte, Principal Consultant, The Bobby Taylor Company– bukky@bobbytaylorcompany.com

Bukky Karibi-Whyte

Bukky Karibi-Whyte is the founder of one of Nigeria's leading Independent Public Relations agencies; The Bobby Taylor Company. She is also a motivational speaker and a women rights advocate. In recent times, Bukky Karibi-Whyte has also birthed two other communications agencies, Invicta Africa with a focus on Corporate Communications and Boom Box PR which she co-founded, with a focus on the Nigerian Entertainment Industry.

About the author

Bukky Karibi-Whyte

Bukky Karibi-Whyte

Bukky Karibi-Whyte is the founder of one of Nigeria's leading Independent Public Relations agencies; The Bobby Taylor Company. She is also a motivational speaker and a women rights advocate.

In recent times, Bukky Karibi-Whyte has also birthed two other communications agencies, Invicta Africa with a focus on Corporate Communications and Boom Box PR which she co-founded, with a focus on the Nigerian Entertainment Industry.

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