Talk Directly to your Customers using Effective Public Relations

Written on the 10 April 2008

Discover the hidden wealth that may be buried in your business

Have you ever heard the saying; “Build a better mouse trap and the market will beat a path to your door.”? Unfortunately this seems to be the axiom most business owners and organisations live by. I say “unfortunately” because it simply isn’t true. You see, if your market doesn’t know about your product, how do you expect them to buy from you? Worse still, if they don’t know about you, how do you expect to survive in business?

You need to firstly tell your market you exist, then you need to tell them what you do, and finally you need to tell them how you can solve their problems. But business is seldom so straight forward. Chances are you are not the only one who can solve their problems; you will invariably find yourself in competition for their business.

You have to learn to communicate with your market. This is called Public Relations. It may be something that your competitors are not doing, or are not doing well. If that is the case, communicating with your market effectively is sure to grow your business. If, however, your competitors are already communicating with your shared market, then it’s about time you started, before you get left behind in their dust.

Aside from eNewsletters sent directly to your clients and prospects, the best way to communicate widely with your market is through the media. This includes newspapers, magazines, TV and radio, in both the traditional and online format.

One of the easiest ways to communicate with the media is through preparing and distributing a media release directly to them. Sometimes it is called a press release and other times a news release. But whatever you call it, the million dollar question remains: Why don’t more business owners and organisations make more use of this powerful promotional tool?

One reason may be that most people simply don’t feel confident enough to put their thoughts and ideas down on paper. Not everybody is a good (or adequate) writer. My experience in working with business owners suggests it has more to do with not knowing what to write than about how to write it. The unfortunate result is that they forgo the benefits that this wonderfully simple yet powerful business-developing tool has to offer.

So, what is worthy of being put into a media release? Firstly, it has to be of interest to the reader. And when I say reader, I am referring to not only your intended prospect but also the editor or journalist to whom you have sent the release. They don’t want to hear garbage or a sales pitch. They want news.

My tip is to keep up-to-date with local and international news. You need to know what is going on in your community, in your country and the world at large. You need to know this because it is what will be on people’s minds on a daily basis. If a plane has just crashed in their neighbourhood, it is unlikely they will care too much about that new widget you have just launched, unless the widget is designed to rescue people from plane crashes, of course.

Keep up-to-date with the latest trends. So often you can ride on the back of a trend and gain invaluable publicity. To do this, you need to know what is going on in general. Is there any connection? Can you make a connection?

Have a good look at your business. You need to understand exactly what your business does. And what it sells. Then ask yourself whether your customers know what your business does and sells. If your business is like most, the answer will probably be no. Which items are the most profitable? Is there old stock that really should be moved? Are there products or services that only some customers know about and not others? How can you tell them?

Public Relations requires strategy. If you send the same, or a similar message, to the media over and over again, eventually they will get sick of hearing from you and will stop opening your emails. If your media release contains grammatical and spelling errors, it becomes illegible and doesn’t maintain your professional image. And anyway, who are your relevant media and how do you contact them?

These questions are why many business owners and organisations use professionals to look after their Public Relations requirements. If you don’t have the time or confidence to use this powerful tool to grow your business, contact Altitude Communications to discuss your requirements and we will create a tailored package to suit your PR needs and budget.

Copyright Altitude Communications 2008. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be used without the prior written concent from the author. See below for more details...

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