The simplest definition of Public Relations (PR) is other people saying good things about you.
If a business is known for doing good things, they will attract attention and prosper. You can’t get PR for boring, run of the mill stuff like the launch of a new product, or the opening of a new store, unless there is something inherently amazing to the world, not just to you. Many businesses think that the opening of their store, or the launch of the 50th ‘red pen’ is interesting to editors and media; it isn’t. We are bombarded by so many advertising and promotion messages in our lives every day.
So how do you build a PR worthy business? In this article, I’m going to share three ways you can do this:
1. DELIVER ON YOUR PROMISES.
The absolute basics of good PR comes from doing what you said you would. The foundation of all good business is delivering ‘what it says on the tin’. Lots of businesses fail to deliver what they promise in today’s economy. How many times have you heard people complaining about electricity companies or banks or airlines in the last month?
Every single time you hear a complaint recognise you are seeing an example where the business didn’t do what it said it would. People have pretty good ‘BS’ meters. They know when something is off, and they certainly know when they’ve been ripped off.
I had a hosting company the other day waste nearly two hours of my time trying to get a website live that had gone down. For the first hour, they spent their time accusing me of changing files in the website admin (which I hadn’t) and then telling me my IT person (me) had been trying to load a website. None of these things were true. Then they had the audacity to tell me they were going to charge me to restore my site when their service contract stated they would be keeping backups of my site. So, I’m $150 out of pocket, with a website down on a critical day when we were promoting workshops, probably costing me at least three registrations to the workshop, worth nearly $3 000. And guess what? I’ve moved all my hosting to someone else so that business will lose out on close to $1 500 of business. I’m sure you’ve had similar circumstances.
Now compare that to a mate who called and had noticed my site was down. He helped transfer all my sites, and guarantees it will never go down for more than a couple of minutes in the future. He didn’t have to do this, but he cared about the situation and reached out, outside work hours from home, to help me. I’m sure you’ve also experienced a business going above and beyond to solve a problem for you.
2. ALIGN YOUR INTERESTS WITH THE COMMUNITY.
Every community has a club or organisation that is trying to perform a social goal. Keeping kid’s active, helping those with difficulties, trying to find a cure for something. If these organisations in your community are trying to achieve something and need support, then why not collaborate with them to offer that support in exchange for their members doing business with you.
This is called aligning your interests. And businesses with a social conscience tend to achieve very good PR. Take Daniel Flynn from Thank you. With his wife Jessica and a few close friends, they have built an amazing business where 100% of all profits go to supporting key causes around the world, like clean water, sanitation, education and more.
3. INVOLVE YOUR STAFF AND CUSTOMERS IN SOCIAL STUFF.
You can build stronger connections with both customers and staff by involving them in social causes. Communicate to both customers and staff how their purchases and their work is contributing to the causes you support. Now, you’re not just a supplier to your customers, and you’re not just an employer to your staff.
Some time ago, I helped a client of mine with his business’ charitable
donations. We promoted to customers that a percentage of all their purchases was being donated to a certain charity. And with staff, we appointed one staff member to be the ambassador for that charity in the business. This is a different PR strategy to aligning to the charity organisation; this is about building connections between you and your customers and staff.
Boring isn’t PR worthy. Failing to deliver on promises is not PR worthy. Amazing is doing what you said you would or being a good corporate citizen.
Do these three things, and you’ll be well on the way to having a great PR strategy and a good reputation to go with it.
Originally published on Smallville.