For many small business owners, hiring a public relations agency might be the last thing on their minds. Maybe it’s the tight budget that puts PR and marketing efforts on the back burner – but what many of these small business owners don’t realize is how PR can be one of the most effective ways of communicating their value in the marketplace.

Traditionally, one may think PR is only focused on creating social media accounts, publicity events and press releases. Although PR does encompass those methods, it requires patience, strategy and consistency. Often public relations professionals hear, “We don’t need PR, we have a stable clientele.” Even if this is true, your business should be generating a consistent buzz in your industry that current or prospective clients want to hear about.

The power of PR

So there’s still the issue of cost, which for many small businesses the budget for marketing efforts is miniscule or nonexistent. That’s okay because PR helps you “get the most bang for your buck.” Unlike advertising, where you pay for ads on channels or outlets that your target audience may never see or notice, PR efforts like a press release distributed to the proper channels can receive cost-free exposure that is relevant to your client and customers. Editorial coverage is the best way for a company or person to be featured at no cost and creates awareness for your business.

Bill Gates

Ever thought about crisis management? An unprepared, misinformed, or ill-at-ease company spokesperson or employee can have the potential of doing damage to your business with their remarks to the media. Having a crisis management plan written by a PR professional can prepare your company or business for less than favorable situations that arise by creating clear and effective strategies for appropriate messaging to the public.

Credibility and control

One of the great things about PR is that is provides value and adds credibility through third-party validation. New clients are less likely to believe an advertisement that is designed to show off how great your business is, while an article presented by a trusted news source highlights the current happenings and or/quotes you as an expert source on a topic pertaining to your industry. You cannot put a dollar amount on the value of being featured in a local or national paper.

Unlike traditional advertising, PR allows you to tell compelling stories about your business through a third-party endorsement, enhancing credibility. For example, if your business serves the elderly, you can target media outlets that are tailored towards that specific population. You know you will be reaching your target audience effectively if research is done on the reporter, outlet and its demographic.

The bottom line is that PR efforts can greatly aid in helping your small business – whether it is generating that constant buzz in the industry or preparing you for a crisis. It’s worth the investment and creates measurable results in the long run.