If you’re the owner of an SME, you’ll know how important it is to build awareness and one of the best ways to achieve this is to secure positive stories about your business in the media, otherwise known as PR.
However, it’s not uncommon to hear the comment that “PR is dead”; that traditional media is on its last legs, and with it goes the power of PR.
Funnily enough, one of the times I heard someone say this, in the next breath he shared a story about how a CEO sent out a dramatic company announcement using a media release. Yes… one of most traditional forms of PR you can get!
I’ve also been asked, “Why do PR when you can do social?” That’s an interesting question, but the question is a bit of a misleading one, as it treats PR and social media as two separate things. PR and social media work in symbiosis. For me, they go hand-in-hand.
Tell your story
Public relations is the art of storytelling. Every person, brand and organisation has stories tell. They can be personal stories, professional stories, stories that let people know who we are, what we stand for and what we do.
And when we start telling our stories, they start resonating with people. Those people start developing relationships with us and start influencing and amplifying your role as an expert and thought leader.
Reaching the people that matter
You can tell those stories in so many different ways – through the media, via your blog or in a podcast. There are now so many ways to reach the people that matter to you.
You can be your own ‘media’ by coming up with the stories, writing them and publishing them on your own sites or social media platforms.
So where does social fit in?
Both traditional public relations and social media can enhance your profile, reputation and credibility.
For PR, the trick is to identify your stories and then see them through the eyes of editors and program directors. When packaged in a way that the media expects, you have a much better chance of getting the coverage you need to promote yourself.
Anything from an innovation, a new book, to a childhood memory has news potential if it’s packaged correctly. And it has absolutely no news value if it isn’t released to the media or shared online at all!
It’s not about if PR is dead, or if PR is better than social media. It’s about how you can use whatever channel you can to tell your stories to the people that matter to you and your business.
Catriona Pollard is the author of From Unknown To Expert, a step-by-step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognised as influencers in their field. She is also the director of CP Communications, which merges traditional PR tactics with cutting-edge social media strategies that engage consumers as well as business.
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