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If you run your own business, you may have said to yourself that you should ‘do’ some public relations. Even so, you wonder whether it’s worth investing the time – time that could be spent on other, more pressing things – and, is it even worth it?

Here are five powerful reasons why you should:

1. Lead generation

Whether you are a startup or an established business, success depends on your customers.

If you’re anything like me, you will turn to Google when you are looking to buy a TV, take up dance classes or hire a graphic designer. I will do my initial research before whittling the results down to a shortlist.

Your customers will do exactly the same. When you create content around the problems they are trying to solve (what to consider when buying a 50” TV, dance classes for adults in your location, how better design improves your website) you become more visible to potential customers. Valuable, helpful content that supports your brand story will build the level trust your (potential) customers have in you as a business.

An important part of public relations is the work with third-party influencers – the media, journalists or social media influencers. With advertising, you pay for and control the story you tell. With public relations, the journalist controls the message through unpaid editorial coverage in the media and online. This adds a level of credibility – and visibility in the Google results – that will prove irresistible to potential customers.

2. Investment / Buyers

Not only customers but also investors or potential buyers for your business will do online research before even agreeing to meet you.

Everyone likes to be part of a success story and if you are able to showcase your business and your people in the best possible light to potential investors, you are already at an advantage when it comes to securing the meeting and investment.

But don’t do PR too early! I wholeheartedly agree with this Harvard Business Review article that the best time to seek publicity is when your company demonstrates traction or hits a key milestone. Storytelling comes after you’ve resolved operational, logistical and business model issues.

3. Recruitment

As a business owner, you want to recruit the best possible people: they need to have the right skills but also be a cultural fit with the rest of the business.

What you do, what you say and what others say about you has a huge impact on the quality of potential recruits who come knocking on your door.

Your content – owned (your blog, web pages) and earned (media via third-party influencers) – will help them with painting a picture in their head of what it’ll be like to work for you. Health & Parenting, for example, embraces flexible working because it fits with their corporate ethos. Other companies might emphasise their outlandish office design as a major perk – like these gems.

4. New initiatives / campaigns

When you have a major announcement coming up, say a new store opening, or funding round, you’ll rightly want to share that with journalists in your space.

But only when it’s genuinely newsworthy and relevant to their audiences. Remember what I said earlier, that the journalist or publication is the intermediary? The real audience you are speaking to is their readers, so make sure your announcement is of genuine interest to them.

Warning: the launch of your all-singing-all-dancing new website will not capture any journalist’s attention

When you consider PR right at the start of the planning process you increase your chances of success. It’s much harder to achieve positive coverage results when PR is seen as an after-thought.

5. Personal profile

Public relations is also about you, the business leader.

John Miles and Amber Vodegel are the founders of Health & Parenting. With two chart-topping apps, Pregnancy+ and Baby+, they told their business story to Growth Business, and how they manage to continue growing in the highly competitive app economy.

Success breeds success so the more you work on raising your personal profile by writing thought leadership articles or commenting on pertinent industry issues, the more opportunities will open up for you.

Your personal profile doesn’t have to be all about work or your industry. It can also be about a topic that is close to your heart, relating to challenges that you have had to overcome.

An excellent example is Prince Harry who has spoken very candidly about his own mental health struggles or Emma Watson who is an outspoken advocate of women’s rights.

When done right, public relations is a powerful way to build your brand, increase exposure and most importantly, create trust. If you are looking to raise the profile of your business but don’t know where to start then get in touch with us here.

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