Advertising creates awareness, PR sells the product.
A good PR is like taking an insurancre policy.In bad times, it can save you and your brand. In good times, it is building trust among your customers.
Brand Building is only about building trust.
Maggi found out that a bad PR policy can destroy a great brand.
Cadbury could bounce back,when worms were found in their chocolates and a good forceful campaign could actually increase their market share.
Pepsi ran a great PR campaign,when a needle was found in a pepsi can in US. It gained consumer confidence and the market share went up.
Can you manage without PR ?
Can you manage without taking insurance cover for your family ?
Is PR campaign expensive ? Do you need to take professional and expensive PR agencies ?
But you need to devote some time. A very small price to pay to secure your future.
Here are some ways to do a PR campaign without creating a big hole in your pocket.
You are the Brand Ambassador of your Brand
Every positive signal you send to outside world creates positive PR. The way you dress or you talk or deal with vendors is noticed. Your good HR policy works in your favour and you become an attractive employer. A smiling receptionist and a polite telephone operator is creating positive PR for you.
Send Press Release
Sending out a press release is just one example of free PR. There are many reasons for sending out a release: Introducing a new product or service, Celebrating an anniversary, Winning an award, Reaching a milestone and so on. Doing this on a regular basis is key to keeping your name in front of your customers and prospects eyes and being at the top of their mind when it comes to awareness.
Articles don’t have to be long; they just need to be informative. Share your experience. Cite your wisdom. Tell a story. Make a list. These are all things you can write an article about. Everyone is more of an expert in one particular area than another. Writing about how to do something is always something of value to readers. Writing articles gives you instant credibility, too. Submitting online, as well as offline, provides another good chance to get your name in print at no cost.
If you don’t have time, get a professional writer to write articles for you with your inputs. One of my clients is writing a book with the help of a professional writer.
Writing a newsletter is another way to keep your name top-of-mind.
This can be online or offline. Online newsletters are often referred to as e-zines; offline newsletters are printed and mailed. Both contain content valuable to your target market and many times advertise your products and services.
It’s always been said that your best prospect is a current customer. Advertising to current customers is your best bet to get more business. E-zines are e-mails to your permission-based email database. The cost of this is nothing, yet the return potential is infinite.
Speaking in front of an audience usually makes you an expert.
People like to buy from experts. If they’re in your audience, then they’ll remember your expertise and come to you when they need your product or service.
Chambers of Commerce are also good targets, but so are all the service clubs that need luncheon speakers. Speaking is free, and it’s just like making a sales call to many people at one time.
Publish Free Reports:
Offering a free report online is a good way to get an email from prospects so you may market to them later. This is the whole basis of permission-based marketing, or opt-in lists. You can do the same thing offline. You can increase the response of a direct-mail program from 1 percent to double-digit percentage returns.
The free reports can be a dressed-up article, a list, a survey that you’ve done or some research-based information. Use your imagination here.
You are an expert in your field. It will be very easy for you to give these reports, which may not be very long-just 4-5 pages. But it makes you an authority in your field and this is positive PR.
Have you thought of Radio?
Radio is expensive, you say? Not if you are being interviewed or calling in on a talk show. Getting interviewed is free, except for your continual follow-up with producers. Calling in is free, but sometimes it’s hard to relay contact information. Both of these work, especially when supplemented with other marketing strategies.
You do not need Big agencies to fix these interviews.You can approach them directly. With so much competition, radio stations are looking for interesting subject.
Yes, you need to be interesting and informative.
Online Forum Participation
There are many online newsgroups or forums for a particular subject area like foods, wellness, pharmaceuticals etc.
Participating in these is another way to get your name out. Advertising is not usually permitted. Participating by answering and asking questions will position you as an expert and a resource for others. Many online forums will let you put an e-mail signature with a link to your website or message with another site linked. Take full advantage of this; these links get clicked often when of interest to the forum participants.
Write Letters to the Editor
A little-known secret that’s a good follow-up to a press release is a letter to an editor.
This is free PR.
Many times a letter to the editor has a better chance of getting published than the actual press release. Sometimes you’ll get a press release published with editorial comments from the editor.
The letter to the editor is a great place to respond to editorial comments as well as to further state a position. You’d be surprised to know how many people read this column in publications. This is also another way to become friends with the editor. If they see you enough and match you with a newsworthy press release, then your chances of getting a press release in print increases.
Submit Your Idea To These Sites
In addition to reaching out to writers individually, there are sites where you can post your press release or startup concept to help get a boost. A favorable mention on any of the following sites can be enough to jump-start your traffic, but you should use these sites in addition to the above outreach plan, and not instead.
A grassroots campaign is usually more effective for getting your product in front of your target audience —
Especially if your product isn’t designed to appeal to the mass market.
MuckRack is a site dedicated to connecting companies with relevant bloggers and journalists. They have a monthly subscription plan for about $299/month that allows you to build ongoing relationships with journalists and track them. I think this is an great way to connect with Journalists .All good journalists in India are attached with this group.
The above activities can give you tremendous publicity, but you need to spend a some amount of time to get desired results. There is no free lunch.
My Suggestion- Even if you are a small company-hire a PR Executive and start a Campaign.
Because-PR will give you awesome Results. Almost at No Cost.