As an entrepreneur, you need to answer an important question: How do I handle the public relations needs of my growing company? Most would like to just slap a few ads on Facebook or send out a press release hoping that the right people see them, but they soon learn the hard way that more advertising does not equal more publicity.
Getting “discovered” as a company or even an individual isn’t actually a thing. It doesn’t happen on its own. It takes paying your dues, maintaining consistency, and spending time working on public relations to get your company to be talked about by influencers and audiences.
Many people ask why public relations is really necessary and if it’s worth what you spend. The first thing I want you to know is that public relations is more than mass-sending press releases and certainly more than adding a few contacts to your list. It’s all about creating good publicity and getting your name and story to the right people.
As my good friend, Richard Branson, said, “Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.”
Let’s face it, people don’t make decisions solely based off of an ad. They put thought and often, the research behind all of their purchasing decisions.This is a huge reason why investing in public relations is so important. You need to make sure your company and even you, are in tip-top standing when searched for on the internet and on social media.
Keep in mind that although there are things you’ll need to do to keep up your good reputation, it might make sense for you to hire out a PR professional to speed up the process and make a great return on investment. Lack of action will likely mean stagnation in business.
How much does a PR campaign cost?
There are a variety of PR agencies that offer services from writing media pitches and content writing to conducting market research and expanding business contacts. There is a PR plan for virtually every budget, but it’s important to know that more services come with a higher bill.
Depending on your needs, you can picture spending anything from $200 a month to $10,000 a month or more. But why so much?
PR professionals are trained in being incredibly effective and efficient with their time and words. This means that the one hour you paid for, can be turned into a media pitch that gets sent to one of thousands of contacts, earning you a news appearance. This generates immediate publicity and exposure for your company, sending more people to your website. With the great content the professional has written, your conversion rate is generating more sales than ever, and soon your profits exceed what you spent on that one hour.
Why does PR cost so much?
Something that is so great about public relations, is the return on investment I mentioned earlier. Any money you spend on a PR Agency can almost always be made back, sometimes in very fast fashion. PR professionals simply have access to relationships and agency-level tools that you don’t and likely wouldn’t make sense for you to invest in. At upendPR.com, we invest more than $10K a year in agency-level tools. Most of our pro-level clients pay us around $1000 a month. In short… for contracting our time, our tools and connections come nearly free.
Established PR agencies like ours also have access to countless connections. We have the ability and power to reach out to the right influencers and build you into a thought leader for your community. A good PR agency’s job is to make you the star of the show.
While each PR company’s job is to help you grow your exposure, not all may be as dedicated to your company as they should be. Everyone wants to go to a big PR company that works with the most elite clients and have them do their public relations. I strongly recommend that small businesses, in particular, have to be conscious of the size of the agency’s other clients. Picking an agency that only has huge clients will mean they will spend significantly less time working with you. Bottom-line: You just aren’t that valuable (monetarily) as a client.
Trust me. I’ve been there. I once hired a big PR agency for a client many years ago. They had a sterling professional reputation – and came highly recommended. The principal was extremely well-known as a thought leader in the PR industry.
I blew $5,000 on a small public relations campaign. The results were dismal. They spent so much time on the bigger companies that me, as a little guy, got hardly any attention. This was just one of several experiences which led me to create what I personally needed: a PR agency made to fit my company’s size. Since then, we have become experts at helping startups and individual entrepreneurs grow into the thought leaders and influencers they are meant to be.
Don't trust your PR solely to someone else
Maintaining good public relations isn’t exclusively in the hands of PR professionals. There are multiple things you need to do on your end to make sure you stay socially relevant and involved in all things current.
In addition to your digital reputation (namely, your Google search results), one of the biggest pieces of advice I can give is to keep a well-maintained Twitter account. The benefits of constant interaction with other influencers are countless and are one way to build great PR. This is how you can reach out to journalists and make connections with other thought leaders. It also keeps you and your company in the mind of your followers, instead of fading in and out. If you’d like a deeper dive, consider taking a peek @ our Twitter Publicity Mastery Course.
The combination of self-done PR and direction from a public relations professional can lead your company to bigger and better things. Resist the urge to put everything on their plate. You’ll likely be disappointed in the results of someone else representing your brand without you. Nobody can represent a company as well as the founder – or at least someone who lives & breathes a company's mission every day.
Instead, take your company’s exposure seriously – and speed up the process with help from a PR pro. Although it comes at a price, PR is an absolute necessity to help your company gain the publicity it deserves.