Those that have followed my business writing know that I am a huge proponent of doing whatever possible to spread the word about your business and products via public relations activities, marketing and press releases.
I’ve been quite vocal on the subject a number of times. Why? I believe a small business desperately lives and dies on other people’s promotional efforts.
By that, I mean that your business can languish in obscurity or rise to great heights simply by the press and acknowledgement you receive from high traffic and “trusted” online sites – especially those in your same marketplace.
When you are able to tell your story and talk about your products and services outside the paid advertising circles where the customer often continues to be skeptical, you have a great opportunity to gain trust and credibility because your business is in the “objective” news.
The objective news is news you don’t buy. It’s news that is being published on the merits of the story itself.
I think most people would agree that “paid news” like infomercials, advertorials, and the like have less credibility and less trust attached than news items that are reported because they are important to know and understand.
I know that explanation probably doesn’t make total sense, but I have always felt that stories told by others about a business or a product are probably more objective and credible than those telling the same story who have a vested interest.
If my neighbor tells me he had a great and happy experience hiring handyman Joe to fix his refrigerator, I’m going to take that recommendation more seriously than handyman Joe’s own advertising about his great repair service. It’s why testimonials by customers and product owners are so powerful. We tend to believe those that are not paid for their opinions and thoughts about products and services.
Many folks still view press releases and “mentions” by others as unbiased product and business endorsements.
If your business or product can be mentioned by a high traffic web site or a noted columnist your own web site page views can skyrocket overnight. But why is this so?
It’s all about the power of leverage. High traffic sites, people with authority, celebrities that are followed by millions, etc, all wield a power or influence over their audience that can include millions of people. Small businesses just don’t have that kind of reach.
Some will say this type of influence is illogical and that a business or product should stand on its own merits. While that certainly may be true, the fact remains that marketing done by “influencers” (whether “on purpose” or not) can launch a business brand or product in a massive way that few small businesses could ever afford.
What happens when Oprah mentions a brand on her television show or network? Often, that brand becomes almost an overnight sensation. Marketing by the small business to try to duplicate that kind of influence and exposure would be impossible!
So your business becomes credible and “trusted by association” even though that honor and status may not be that well-deserved.
I found an article over at Entrepreneur dot com that touches briefly on the subject and certainly reiterates what I’ve been saying for a long time about the importance of PR.
Note: Just to be clear about the term “PR” – In marketing circles, it is used as the abbreviation for both “public relations” and “press release.” Often these terms are used interchangeably; however, we recognize that they separate and distinct terms with different meanings.
It stresses how to create a piece that can form the basis of a successful marketing campaign by telling a compelling story and tailoring your writing to the right markets and media outlets.
These professional people (media reps) are hungry for good strong copy that does not read like a giant advertisement of self promotion.
If you learn how to give the right people a great story, make it interesting to the media readers, and give them some great advice or tips that are valuable, there’s an excellent chance that your article will be picked up by many media outlets (companies) and your traffic will increase almost instantly.
Of course, traffic and web site visitors will mean nothing if you don’t provide great web copy that leads to the conversion of prospects or visitors into paying customers once they get to your site – but that is a topic for another day.
For today, why not head over to the link I gave you and read the tips that will help to make your public relations skill a great asset for your small online business?
Yes, doing PR work takes some extra effort and it is not always fruitful.
But if you learn what is needed and become even slightly proficient at getting some press in your niche for your business and products, you will be miles ahead of your business competitors and you should begin to realize the benefits of your labors in short order.
To your online business success!