What is PR and why does your small business need it?
Written by Jack Terry
As featured in the Telegraph, Our managing director, Lis Field, talks to the Telegraph about how it has evolved over our 20 years in the industry:
Getting the right people on board as early as possible to work towards a clearly defined goal can really set a business or project off on the right foot.
A PR strategy can be critical to the success of a small business.
At the very least, good communications will let people know that a company (and its products or services) exists. And even after a purchase, sustained, strong messaging can turn one-time shoppers into loyal and happy fans.
But smaller companies, limited on time and resource, don’t always get round to doing it properly.
This is where PR practitioners can help. From getting clients in the press, to building online reputations, they can help distinguish businesses of all sizes from the competition.
What is PR?
According to the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), PR is defined as “the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.”
It comprises a broad range of disciplines, including corporate and crisis communications, digital media management, and government affairs. Overall, it focuses on building trust, reputation and stronger relationships with the public.
The rise in digital media has shaken up traditional ideas of press coverage. “PR professionals have more opportunities than ever to help businesses achieve their goals,” says Jason MacKenzie, president of CIPR. “The same things are important now as they were decades ago, so SMEs should still include PR at the earliest possible stage. An experienced, professional practitioner will understand every element of the business and its goals.”
Eyes on the media
One such practitioner is Eulogy, an agency that has been supporting SMEs for 20 years.
“We grew up in the old world of print newspapers dominating the media landscape, but today it’s a massive mix of multi-channel platforms, from print to online to audio,” says managing director, Elisabeth Field. It’s her agency’s job to understand how SMEs can navigate this confusing media landscape.
Eulogy’s focus is on media and public relations – getting clients into the media so that members of the public are more aware of them. It uses several approaches, such as training clients to effectively face the media (in interviews or events), pushing out stories to target publications, and making a client’s online presence and reputation as strong as possible.
Results are measured by in-depth evaluation metrics. “Measuring return on investment (ROI) is more involved than the good old days of measuring column inches. We now have our own matrix to work out the reputational, financial and brand value of our work,” explains Ms Field, who adds that good agencies will help an SME to figure out what it needs to achieve, then work closely with them to try to make it happen within the limits of the budget.