A Case for Public Relations
As the old proverb goes, “no news is good news.”
But when it comes to your business, no news (or no press) isn’t necessarily good. In essence, you’re at the mercy of any information that comes out. But the wrong time to combat bad press is after it has already been published or aired.
Take Yelp, for instance, we’ve all seen the business owner who doesn’t respond to feedback until he receives a negative review. In reality, any responsible business owner should have been proactive from the start.
If your business is big, then the bad press will most likely happen. Success brings competition and envy. Thus it falls to you, the owner, to be constantly creating and controlling the information out there.
The missing element for many business owners is a solid public relations program. Oftentimes when speaking to business owners I run into the return on investment question, “What’s the ROI of this PR program?” Honestly, a solid PR program, especially digital, is priceless.
Public relations and marketing are not the same things. Marketing is defined as “the total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising, shipping, storing, and selling.”
Conversely, public relations is defined as: “the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc.”
Public relations set the stage for what marketing will promote; it changes how you are looked at and perceived. Marketing is always about driving new leads. Where PR is actually changing the scene of what people find on you, who’s talking about you and where your expertise is seen.
It’s the first step to really amplifying impact and setting it up so not only more people find you, but all of your marketing after is more effective and takes less effort. That’s where the idea of “goodwill” comes in. Enhancing your credibility and stance in your local community is what will bring more customers through the door. Thought leaders in their space and those getting quality information out there will generate goodwill.
Growth in Podcasting and Brand Authority
Today, more Americans are learning from podcasts. Of those 144 million Americans, according to Edison Research, they are sticking around for 80 percent of an episode.
Based on current growth trends, podcast advertising is predicted to hit $1.6 Billion by 2022; to which 78 percent of listeners found reported they didn’t mind the ads. In fact, in 2021, revenue from podcasts will pass radio for NPR.
In fact, TechCrunch called 2019 a breakout year for podcasting: “This year (2019) has been a breakout one for podcasting. According to Edison Research’s Infinite Dial report, more than half of Americans have now listened to a podcast, and an estimated 32 percent listen monthly (up from 26 percent last year).
This is the largest yearly increase since this data started being tracked in 2008. Podcast creation also continues to grow, with more than 700,000 podcasts and 29 million podcast episodes, up 27 percent from last year.”
The truth is that podcasts are the place to be in order to grow your authority. It’s becoming the overwhelming way that people learn; those people are you public, customers and potential customers.
You need to be the one to tell them about yourself and your mission and you need to start doing that now, the time to fill the vacuum of information is before something bad happens.
If you control the information, you can control public opinion. That’s the magic of public relations.
Fears Over Public Relations Failures
“Public relations and podcasts don’t work.” Every time I get on a consulting call and I hear this, I know there’s a specific list of questions I ask:
- What were you using to judge the show audience?
- Were you actually targeting your audience?
- What did you do with the content after?
- Did you leverage your features for thousands of views on the right social platforms?
Here are the responses I usually get:
- “Well, I was on 50 shows.”
- “I had my virtual assistant do a bunch of pitching.”
- I hired a company that promised lots of interviews super fast and took every inbound I could get.”
The right approach is to actually find smaller podcasts that are the exact type of audience that you want to reach and writing a unique message for them of the value you can add to their show.
Within most podcast apps there are 19 top categories and 91 subcategories under those; it’s a dream for business owners that understand the right niche.
The Value in Niche Celebrity
The riches are in the niches. It’s a drum that has been beaten for years, but business owners do not always understand.
The biggest audience does not always create the biggest effect. It’s what I always tell the clients we place as guests on podcasts.
You have to be in front of “your people” to make an impact, not everyone is your audience and that’s totally fine. The smallest targeting can make the biggest impact.
In order for your business to go big, it must first start small. Becoming a celebrity to the people you should matter to and that’s how you’ll grow.