Simplex Open House

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Importance of Public Relations

An Article by Reed Dillon

Jerry Rouleau
The late Jerry Rouleau was a great friend and mentor of mine, and awakened me years ago to the power of public relations. In his many speaking engagements, Jerry used to preach the power of the four P’s in the marketing mix: Product, Place, Price, and Promotion.  One of the most important (and often ignored) components of Promotion is Public Relations.

I am as guilty of the next person – I admit I’ve treated Public Relations as an afterthought. My recent marketing efforts have focused on websites, brand content, creating cool new digital tools, and getting more leads for my employers and clients. PR is hard. PR takes specific tools. PR takes time. So, PR falls by the wayside.
Now, people know advertising – that’s pretty cut and dry. And social media has awakened us to the power of consumer-relationship marketing. Our self-esteem rises and falls with our likes, retweets, and follows. Great SEO seems to be every marketer’s mantra these days, but I ask the question: “What about good old PR?”
I think it is valuable for us to understand what PR actually does, and how it works:
What does PR do?
Consider the old saying: advertising is what you pay for and good publicity is what you pray for.
An ad is something you pay for to blow your own horn, to hopefully increase (or maintain) awareness. You know this, consumers know this. Ads are not why people visit websites, or read magazines and newspapers.
PR is validation, credibility. A feature story – and even a mention of your company, is an endorsement from that media outlet. They’re blowing your horn and telling your story, which gives you validation unlike anything else: it differentiates you from competitors, provides consumers a level of active awareness and trust in your company, and can be used over and over and over again.
Every PR mention – from a quote to a feature story - is valuable: as drivers of traffic, interactive content, and a very useful sales tool.
How does PR work?
Think of PR as the crafty hybrid between sales and marketing. PR experts need to utilize sales skills to convince media outlets (editors, reporters, writers) that this is a story that must be told. And, PR experts need to reach out to the right media – thinking outside the box, inside the box, and on top of the box to reach (and expand) your audience in a way that’s meaningful and relevant to them.
Public Relations should not be left out of your overall marketing plans and should be regularly incorporated into your business as part of your marketing. PR is a legitimate part of the marketing mix which, if worked consistently, delivers very tangible benefits.
FYI: You can DIY your PR
Like Jerry Rouleau, his son Scott Rouleau is an experienced PR expert, owner of Rouleau Communications. Scott brought a new PR option to my attention – a solution for those willing to put in their own sweat equity. “We recognize that hiring a PR firm is often cost-prohibitive for smaller sized companies,” says Scott. “But those are the companies that really need PR the most, and many of them have some truly amazing projects, stories, and newsworthy attributes. So we developed a DIY PR service to empower companies to do their own PR.”

I talked to Scott about this service - since companies lack the media contacts necessary to do their own outreach, they solve that problem by creating custom media lists, culled from their extensive personal knowledge, expertise, and media contacts, and tailored specifically for each and every DIY customer: in a nutshell, they provide the contacts (as well as consultation and best practices), you do the outreach and follow up.

I recognize that this DIY approach would take time – you have to be willing to invest in yourself to make it happen. But shouldn’t investing in yourself be a foregone conclusion?

Scott may be contacted at scott@rouleaucomm.com or (860) 677-0560 for more information.

ABOUT Reed Dillon - Reed Dillon is the owner of Creative Brand Content,
creativebrandcontent.com - a marketing consulting company and Modularhomeblogs.com, a subscription blog service for builders. Reed has spent nearly two decades heading the marketing departments of some of the industry’s leading modular manufacturers as well as earning numerous national marketing awards.

Contact can be made at reed@creativebrandcontent.com or by phone at 540-488-2978.

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