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Monday, 4 January 2010

Has your advertising budget been cut? Why not use PR instead?

Q: I’ve had to cut my advertising budget due to the current economic climate but still need to promote my business. How can I do this in a cost-effective way?

A: If you’ve ever wondered why some companies are always in the news, it’s because they understand the value of positive public relations and they most probably have a PR professional driving their media relations.

Public relations deals with reputation management and building great relationships with customers, employees and other groups which interact with your business. Good PR drives sales and creates favourable attitudes by getting people excited and thinking positively about your company.

A professional PR company can help you in a number of ways, including for example preparing press releases to communicate your key messages in local or trade publications, producing newsletters or case studies to illustrate examples of your successes or managing your electronic communications such as your company website or email bulletins to clients.

Whether you are a start-up company or an established business, you do need to be revving up your PR and getting your name and messages out there. With more companies fighting for less work, you need to keep communicating with the outside world to win new business, and so that people will think of you first when the economy picks up.

This is what strategic PR does. It keeps you in front of your customers, and it’s the most effective way of boosting your image and your business. If you don’t have the professional expertise in-house, don’t waste time, resources and money trying to do it yourself. Too often, the job of communicating the company’s strategic messages is given to the office receptionist or director’s secretary who will not have the writing skills, journalistic training or media contacts to do an effective job.

PR doesn’t have to be expensive. For one or two days a month, a PR professional can create a cost-effective communications programme that puts you in touch with the people you want to reach. You’ll benefit from their expertise and contacts, and the publicity your company generates will quickly cover your costs.

And this approach definitely has proven benefits. As Microsoft’s Bill Gates famously said: “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on PR”, and look what he’s achieved!

E=MC2 welcomes enquiries from companies who want to find out more about how low-cost PR can help them raise their profile and win new business.

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