PR and marketing are both used to improve profits, but they choose different roads to reach their destination. While marketing is comfortably understood, public relations is often overlooked among small business marketing ideas because of confusion about what it is and how it contributes to business success.
Establishing relationships with clients and prospects is the purpose of public relations. It is designed to increase credibility and reputations, leading to extra business. Marketing on the other hand, is all about getting goods and services in front of prospects. The most well known form of marketing is advertising.
How public relations and marketing experts each deal with newspapers highlights the difference between them. The marketing person may prepare an advertisement for a local newspaper. He can state whatever he wishes in the newspaper space he has paid money for. The aim of this is for people to see the advertisement and purchase the product or service on offer.
A PR professional would use a different technique. He would be interested in the news information the newspaper contains. This would include everything that is not a paid advertisement. His focus would be to get his company featured in these editorial pages.
He would do this to better the reputation of his company, because news coverage in the media cements people as experts in their fields among their audience. This also leads to more clients and customers.
Direct marketing is another area where the difference between marketing and PR can be seen. Someone marketing for a local builder could post out regular fliers outlining his services. This would be designed to entice clients.
In contrast, the public relations manager for the builder might write an informative regular newsletter with ideas for potential clients such as how to find the correct builder, or the things you need to look for while hiring a builder. This would demonstrate that the builder knew what he was talking about, raising his reputation and credibility. This would also be designed to bring in additional work immediately and in the future.
These points show that both PR and marketing are valuable. Marketing lets potential clients know about products and services. But just as critically, entrepreneurs need to exhibit their expertise and maximise their credibility through public relations. In a hard market, this is crucial as potential clients become fussier with their choice of service provider.
This can all seem confusing to small business owners, and PR companies are not always proficient at explaining it. But what I have just explained is the difference in a nutshell. Marketing is to get goods and services in front of future clients, while PR is about credibility and reputation. This also creates exposure.
Because public relations is not well understood and perceived to be expensive, it is often ignored among small business marketing ideas. The perception that it’s expensive is created by public relations consultancies that have large corporations as their major clients.
But by understanding how the media works and giving them what they want, small businesses can gain their own share of media interest without the price tag. They can also create their own regular newsletter.
Public relations must be a priority when it comes to small business marketing ideas. Entrepreneurs can either acquire the skills themselves or bring in an independent advisor occasionally.