Jennifer Abshire Reflects on the “Power of PR”

In today’s business world, public relations serves as an important way to get talked about by the people who matter most – your existing and prospective customers. PR offers a multi-media opportunity to shape the way your company is perceived and to increase your brand’s credibility in the marketplace.

Public relations is, at its core, about strategically influencing the way you and your company are perceived by your target audience. It’s also about strategic, effective communication. A well-executed public relations campaign can generate top-of-mind awareness of your company, add credibility to your marketing and branding messages, and ultimately boost your bottom line.

Remember that a successful public relations campaign complements an existing marketing plan and does not serve as a substitute for well-placed advertising. Together, PR and advertising help accomplish the same goals by raising awareness about your company in today’s highly competitive market.

Whether you’re an entrepreneurial business owner who recently relocated to the Creative Coast or an established corporate exec who has called Savannah home for decades, here are a few tips to help tap into the power of PR:

Create a strategic PR plan. Public relations is about more than just writing and sending a press release. A successful PR initiative requires a strong strategic plan, which should serve as your company’s underlying guiding light. An effective strategic plan needs both traditional and new media tasks, business development, and a creation of ongoing activities that complement your key business messages. Like they say, If you fail you plan, you plan to fail…..

Share your good news. Don’t be afraid to let others know about your company’s latest award  or your most recent project. Remember that not everyone knows what your company does best. Get the word out to your target audience about new products, new services and new opportunities.

Utilize new media. From Facebook and LinkedIn to Twitter and blogging, there are multiple new options to communicate with customers and build brand loyalty. Use the new media tools that appeal best to your target audience so you can communicate with your customer base in real time.

Maximize word of mouth. The best PR is positive referrals by colleagues and glowing recommendations from customers. Be sure to get out and network in the community as often as possible to let other know about your successes. In Savannah, business is often conducted face-to-face, so take advantage of the city’s many opportunities to network with colleagues and competitors alike.

Keep updating your web site. Keep your information current, develop engaging web copy, make sure your search terms are optimized and your design fresh. A user-friendly, engaging web site may be your first impression. Make sure it represents you well.

Stay focused. Define exactly what sets you apart from your competition. Focus on your audience, your market and your strategic plan. Fine tune your message to a few clear, concise points and strategically disseminate that message where and how it will best reach your target audience.

The fall is typically budget season, which means many businesses are currently planning ahead for 2011. When you make your budget allocations for next year, don’t forget the power of PR to help take your business to an even higher level of success.
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Jennifer Abshire Patterson is the founder and CEO of Abshire Public Relations. She can be reached directly at jennifer@abshirepr.com or 912-695-7881.