Pros & Cons of Public Relations for Small Businesses

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Hey entrepreneurs! Today I’ll be covering the pro’s and con’s of Public relations, aka..free advertising! Every week I find myself talking with so many hard working women entrepreneurs and small business owners about the difficulties of gaining exposure for their brands. Since I’ve been down this road many times, I thought I’d share some insights so you can keep them in mind for your own business. From one entrepreneur to another :).

After you read about PR below, make sure to check out last week’s blog – – Pros & Cons of Paid Advertising. That way you can weigh the two against each other and make the right decision for you and your products. These are just my experiences (since I’ve tried it all), so make sure to have your customer in mind, your business goals in mind and to stay in tune with what feels right for YOU.

Now let’s dive into those PR pros and cons!


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1. Builds Credibility for Your Brand 

If the press WANTS to cover your story, this is great news! PR is free exposure.  Since PR is earned, this builds credibility. After I pitched JackieDeals on MSNBC a few times, I finally heard back from their booking producer. She invited me to appear on the show, “Your Business.” After the segment aired I was able to share the appearance with future partners, others in the press, and my community. The press saw value in what I was offering and I was able to reach a broader audience.

WHY THIS MATTERS TO YOU:

In order to generate more sales, or be viewed as an expert in your field, you must gain trust. People want to rely on your brand and know that others trust you as well. This trust and validation from the media multiplies quickly when a great story in a magazine, website or television is shared on social media.

2. PR Relationships Are Priceless

Forming a relationship with an editor, producer, or booker, provides a wonderful advantage. For example I have great PR relationship with accomplished lifestyle journalist and commentator, Trae Bodge. You may have seen her shopping segments on Rachael Ray, CNBC, or in Redbook and Elle magazines. I follow her on social media, comment on her articles and engage as much as possible. I’ve pitched her my own business, and even though I don’t hear back from her every time, she keeps me top of mind when there’s a good fit. We email once in a while, and if she ever needs any information from me, I make myself available. Recently, she needed beauty tips referencing specific products, so she circled back and reached out. I was featured in her beauty blog series and on all social channels.

WHY THIS MATTERS TO YOU:

There are “real people” producing those tv segments…and there are “real people” on the other side of your magazine pitch. Those hard working folks get pitched constantly and they too prefer a trusted relationship. If you can cultivate a mutually beneficial  relationship, the PR rewards are more likely to happen.

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1. You Play By Their Rules

When it comes to PR you have no guarantees. If you’re lucky enough to get this free publicity, you have no control over the final version and what ends up getting printed, blogged, or televised. I pitched Better Homes and Gardens magazine last year hoping it would match up with a summer campaign I was planning. After several weeks, I followed up with a nice email and some new content for them to consider. Crickets. Finally, 6 months later, in December I heard back from the editor saying she would like to run my tips in the Christmas issue. I was still elated of course but did have to realign my efforts to match their timing.

WHY THIS MATTERS TO YOU:

If you get any sort of publicity… yay, congrats!..but know they have creative control. They will run the story when it works for their editorial calendar, and they may not even run the entire story. They may run half of it or even just a quote.  If your info has a “shelf-life” when pitching it may be harder to align with their schedules.

What’s Next:

I’m sure many of you are not just interested in the PROS and CONS but also the HOWS. In my next blog I’ll share some of my HOWS related to paid advertising and PR. 

Be sure to check it out.


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