You’ve probably heard of public relations, but you may not be using it to your advantage.
You sit down to enjoy your morning bagel and cup of coffee, open your favorite trade publication, and there it is ... a feature story about your competitor. Ugh. It talks all about their leadership, services and fantastic growth over the years with large photos and a link to their website.
This is not how you wanted to start your day! How did they get this, anyway?
Welcome to the world of public relations or PR. While you’ve probably heard of it, you may not be using it to your advantage.
What Exactly is PR?
Many people think that “PR” stands for press release. But it’s much more than that. Public relations is, “the business of inducing the public to have understanding for and goodwill toward a person, firm or institution.”
Basically, PR refers to all of the communications you have with your internal and external customers, online and off.
This is because the information you distribute affects the image people have of your business in some way, and this relates directly to sales, customer acquisition, employee productivity and so much more.
The Benefits of PR
PR focuses on sending the right message to the right audience at the right time to get specific results, and it can offer your business many advantages.
Obtain third-party credibility: The main benefit of public relations is that it can give you third-party credibility you can’t get any other way. As mentioned above, when a well-known media source publishes a story about you, the people who read, watch or listen to it, give your business some attention and credibility.
This is because it’s not paid advertising. It’s a reputable, outside source talking about your products and services.
Boost positive awareness: A media story about your business can reach a worldwide audience within minutes of going live on the internet. If the mention offers valuable and unique information, people will share it with others and include comments, photos, videos, and more.
Also, if an online story includes the right keywords, search engines will add it to the top of their rankings relative to current news about that particular topic. This news listing is usually online permanently so it can continue to help build awareness for your business for months, and even years, in the future.
Save money: As a story spreads online and via word-of-mouth, you basically get free advertising for your business. If you pitch your ideas to media members and your discussion results in a published article, television or radio interview, blog, or something else, you can enjoy coverage worth thousands of dollars without paying a cent.
Public relations doesn’t need to cost anything except time and effort!
Gain a competitive edge: Not only does public relations help you save money that you can use on marketing, sales and other activities, it can also make your competition temporarily obsolete.
For example, let’s say a potential customer is looking for a new partner to supply air conditioning systems to a large hotel chain in the area. After they read the impressive article about your business in their favorite publication, do you think they will call you or your competitors first?
Win top-level new hires: Public relations can also help you win great new hires over the competition. After all, skilled and talented people job seekers want to work with exciting, growing businesses that are credible and newsworthy.
They pay attention to top media venues in the industry as they search for potential opportunities. A single story about your business in one of these venues can put you in front of the best candidates, and above other competitors, without your knowledge.
Plus, you can post your media clippings (published articles) on your website, print copies and put them in your reception area, hang them on your wall, and more. This will help you make a good first impression when top talent walks in your door for their interview.
Increase productivity: When a media story goes live, be sure to share it with your team members. They will get excited to see your business (and maybe even themselves!) in the news.
This can open up internal communications where you discuss monthly goals, events, charitable activities, training, sales processes, and more to build more positive buzz about your business – inside and out.
Remember, the conversations you have with your employees also falls into the area of public relations. When you convey the right messages at the right time to them, you can create a more positive work environment, improve loyalty and confidence in the company, see productivity increase, and much more!
What Does All of This Mean?
PR can help you boost sales quickly and cost-effectively! With third-party credibility your competitors can’t touch, you get more positive attention from current and potential customers and reach top job candidates.
Specifically, “third-party credibility is based on the human tendency to value the opinion/expertise of someone outside their circle of influence more than someone within (i.e. an outsider must know something we don’t),” states Bob Burg, international speaker and best-selling co- author of “The Go-Giver.”
Why not take advantage of this using public relations in your day-to-day operations?
Also, regular news coverage and the right internal communications can inspire your team members to share a positive brand image with others and be more productive because they want to be a part of your growing and newsworthy business!
Public relations is no longer this “mysterious” activity you hear about on a regular basis. Now, you can make it an essential part of your action plan and experience significant growth in your HVACR business this year!