By Jackie Shelton
One-on-one communication: It’s one of the most valuable tools used by successful business owners and non-profit managers. Perhaps you already employ it while talking with clients, employees and other stakeholders.
So imagine using those same techniques inherent to one-on-one communication, but sending a message on a far larger scale.
This is the goal of public relations.
The “public” techniques inherent to the concept of “public relations” can be used to talk to all of your employees at the same time. They also allow you to communicate the benefits of your product or service to hundreds — if not thousands — of potential clients at once.
Strategic public relations tools allow you to directly target specific audiences with specific information. These tools have changed considerably over the last few years, as technology has created an abundance of opportunities for business owners and managers to connect with their audiences in a variety of ways not possible just a few years ago.
It’s no longer just about writing and sending a press release out to TV, radio and print editors. Now channels like social media, e-newsletters and websites allow you to connect directly with people interested in your product or services.
While the technology does make it easier to distribute information, the information itself still has to be relevant and targeted to the audience.
While many organizations and solopreneurs know public relations can be invaluable to their business, some may not be able to afford to hire an agency or PR practitioner to put together a strategic communications plan with quantifiable outcomes.
If you’re interested in using public relations tools to reach out to your audience directly, below are some ideas you might consider.
- Provide new content on your website or blog: Updating your website on a regular basis will improve your search engine optimization (SEO), helping more people find your website more easily.
- Create two-way dialogue on various social media platforms: Outlets like Facebook and Twitter are great for interacting directly with your customers and employees, both current and potential.
- Host an event: If you’re introducing a new product or celebrating a milestone, why not invite your customers, employees and stakeholders to join you?
- Communicate internally to share your message and mission: Your employees are your strongest missionaries. Make sure they’re on target with your company’s overall message.
- Create strategic partnerships: What other businesses or organizations can you work with to amplify your messages — and theirs, too?
- Pitch a story to local media: You’ll need to prepare newsworthy information specific to a targeted media outlet (TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, blog).
All of these are thoughtful and engaging ways to connect with your audience. A more comprehensive PR plan provides actionable items to create relationships with your audiences through a variety of steps.
Interested in learning more about crafting a strategic communications plan for your organization? The Public Relations Society of America Sierra Nevada Chapter (PRSA) is hosting a free half-day workshop for non-profit managers and solopreneurs. “PR To Go: Amplifying Your Message” will take place at the Nevada Museum of Art Museum School (100 Liberty Street) on Friday, July 24 from noon to 5 p.m. Attendees will be entered into a drawing to win a free strategic communications plan from the UNR Reynolds School of Journalism’s student chapter of PRSA. PR professionals, solopreneurs and non-profit managers can sign up here.
Jackie Shelton is the Director of Community Relations for PRSA and Vice President of Public Relations for the Estipona Group.