People often think of a PR firm as something only useful after a company has already dug itself into trouble and needs digging out. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Just because a PR firm is a useful ally after something goes wrong doesn’t mean that this is the limit of their usefulness; they can also be helpful in crafting an approach to advertising and helping to grow the public image of your business.
A lot of individuals and groups in the United States have a PR firm they’ve allied with, or have one they operate in-house of their business. Every major business operates one out of house, hiring people to positions that are dedicated to doing PR work for the firm or company. Smaller businesses will hire an outside firm to do their PR work for them, on the other hand, to avoid spending the capital that hiring a dedicated PR staff would require. Almost every celebrity has a PR firm, or their management has one on speed-dial in case things go wrong and a quick PR solution is the best possible response. Even groups passing for the passage of various pieces of legislation have PR teams, in order to best understand how to phrase things in the way that will most appeal to the average voter.
Businesses keep a PR firm around in order to help them keep a positive media image and to help support long-term, sustained growth. A well experienced PR agency is well equipped to help run marketing campaigns as well as ad buys. These differentiate in that one can involve positive coverage in news reports, articles written in local or national papers and magazines showcasing your business and what it has to offer for members of the community, and the like, while ad buys are just purchasing ad space. While a great article from the local food reviewer can help sway a few minds, most people aren’t going to go to a restaurant that they don’t know exists.
This is why it’s so important to buy ad space and run advertisements. Getting your business’ name and image out there helps to bring people in the front door and to net new customers via referrals if those initial customers have a good experience. The more people the advertisements can reach, the more possible customers you’ll be bringing in. It’s also important to know what venues are best for reaching prospective companies.
There are many different ways to reach customers with media buys. A business can buy ad space on television, and plan to run the ad during on a local channel during a time slot that would suggest people would purchase the product. For example, they could run an advertisement for a new child’s movie during Saturday morning cartoons, reaching the customers desired (in this case, children, who will then beg their parents to see the movie, who may then take the children to the movie, resulting in profit) by carefully placing the ad. One drawback to this method is that not only does it require paying for ad space, but also paying for making a 30 second commercial, which can be a fairly expensive process. Radio is another possible avenue of attack, and it reaches a large market. The ads are fairly inexpensive by comparison to television, and much more cost-effective to produce for the same length. A cost-conscious business can also decide to sponsor a local radio show (in part) instead, helping to pay part of the cost of running the show for a certain period of time in exchange for being mentioned throughout the show by the DJs or host. Of course, last but not least, there’s always that oldest of options, print media, purchasing squares of advertising space (or entire pages, with enough money) in magazines and papers and other periodicals, but this is a shrinking market as many newspapers and magazines make the move to an all-online format in order to save money on delivery.
A well-experienced PR firm can help a small business to grow over the long-term with a stable rate of growth. They can help to craft a plan for advertising and managing a media presence. For a small company, especially one that’s just starting out and not all that able to run its media presence, there are even PR firms that can help with social media management, which, in this modern era, can be a real asset, as most companies are getting in on the social media networks and the free advertising it can provide. For a company new to managing its image, a PR firm is an invaluable asset.