Year in year out a new business sprouts. However, a Canadian research carried on the reasons why SMEs fail revealed that out of 145,000 businesses started annually, 137,000 declare bankruptcy within their first year of operation. The gasoline to this fire is their inability to harness public relations to catapult their businesses to desired heights. Whether it is during smooth times or battling negative public opinion, effective PR is at the heart of any organization that intends to make a name for itself in its industry niche. A business that applies the right PR thrives and stays longer in operation.
The following key strategies can work for your business;
First of all, you must imagine your buyer. Put on their shoes. Ask yourself how these buyers think and what they appreciate. Then go ahead to tell them why you are there and what solution you are offering to them. For instance, if your buyer is looking for high-end investment products, craft a story that shows your products as solutions designed to meet high net investment needs. Remember to make the buyer feel what is different about you and why they should leave all the other options there are in the market and take yours.
Go for the big fish
As you pitch your product or service, do not be wishy-washy about how you market it. Instead, target key influencers interested in you as a business and explain clearly all you would like to go out. Book for TV and Radio interviews with them and let them know that you are always ready for interviews. Be subtle about this, respect the interviewers time and only ask for interviews when you have something worthwhile to say.
Solicit and promote reviews
Request a loyal buyer or one interested in your business to give reviews in form of video or press testimonials about you. This is free and organic PR. Research shows that up t0 88% of respondents make buying decisions based on online reviews. If this is done as consistently as possible, brand perception is enhanced greatly.
Prioritize media influencers
This has to do with contracting the services of a person or firm which is highly influential and sets the tone. After say, a successful launch or review of a new product, a book for exclusive interviews with them. Here, remember to respect your brand and be selective about how you give out your brand in raffles.
Keep it simple
Whenever you run a publication, structure it so that it can be understood by a five-year-old. The easier to read your publication, the longer a person digs into the content. Use simple tools like word count and readability score to determine how difficult the language is to comprehend on a 1-100 scale. Ideally, your score should be between 80-89.
Listen to your employees’ views
To win their loyalty, allow employees to air their views privately and actually show that their views are important and respected, then cater to them. It is not surprising to note that for every rogue employees’ post, there is a senior level person making a poor decision.
Use humor in crises
In the case where negative social media post goes viral or rumors abound about the faultiness of your product or the credibility of your brand, counter this by use of humor. For instance, when a customer posted on Safaricom Facebook page asking Safaricom to check whether his line had a problem because every time he tried texting a beautiful girl, she did not respond. He got a response from Safaricom that he should try less beautiful girls since maybe his standards were too high. Safaricom also requested the guy to share feedback for assistance. Such light moments create humor and ease any tension between the company and its customers thus strengthening its PR.
In the occasion that you truly commit an error, maybe there are faults in your product, own up immediately this comes to your knowledge and show the public that you are containing the damage. Maybe you are a medicine manufacturing company and you realize the batch you sold in a certain period was expired. Immediately it comes to your attention, recall this compromised products immediately. The consequences become bizarre if the mistake you did is communicated by another party before your company. This is because such message may be distorted and salvaging your lost respect becomes twice harder.
The importance of Public Relations can never be overemphasized whether you are starting out or countering negative public opinion. A business should consider the nature of its operations, the product, their buyers and the environment it is operating in while coming up with the best PR strategy to apply. Of most importance is to consider the long-term effect of a strategy over the short term to ensure sustainability.