How consumers perceive your brand can make or break your reputation. However, as a business owner—particularly an owner of a small business—it can be difficult to navigate the world of public relations when you’re juggling other responsibilities.
To help ensure you’re developing efficient PR and media strategies, we asked the members of Forbes Agency Council to share some of the most important PR and media advice they have received from a mentor.
1. Create Tailored Press Releases And Media Plans
Pre-written recipes are the enemy of efficiency. Too often, I see media plans on autopilot that aren’t serving the creative idea they were supposed to not only support, but enhance. Same goes for PR—you need to always keep your reader in mind so it doesn’t become just a chest-thumping piece that only you care about. – Pascal de Decker, THE UNKNOWN
2. In A Crisis, Pay Attention To Both Legal Issues And Public Opinion
When you are dealing with a reputation crisis, there are two courts to consider: the court of law and the court of public opinion. It’s not a binary choice. Very often, a crisis involves litigation, and there is a tendency to say as little as possible to protect the organization’s position in depositions or in court. That’s an important distinction. However, if the organization doesn’t consider what it says to customers, employees, suppliers, regulators and other stakeholders, it is very easy to lose reputation and business. Smart organizations can accomplish both. – Andrew Gilman, CommCore Consulting Group
3. Sometimes, It’s Better To Wait
The most important thing I’ve learned about PR is that two things are necessary for any communication: a solid message that resonates and a media strategy that is aligned with the company’s business objectives. Sometimes the best strategy is to wait—information is currency, and you don’t need to spend it like it’s burning a hole in your pocket. – Nicole Osmer, Health+Commerce
4. Focus On Your Audience
It’s not about forcing a sale or business mission, but having empathy and researching who you’re speaking to. Be considerate of what their values and struggles are, and how you might support them. – Jason Parkin, Compose[d]
5. Be Authentic At All Costs
Our friends and family convince us to do things all the time, most times for our benefit or at least for our enjoyment or participation. It works because it comes from a very familiar and authentic place that resonates with us. The opposite is often true of how we consume media. Even if there is familiarity, there is hardly ever a feeling of authenticity, because deep down we know it is coming from a very selfish place. So I have learned to be authentic at all costs: Customers can sense it and the best and most deserving results can come from that approach. This can be the difference between media that is more customer-focused and value-driven versus media that is solely focused on the business or brand. – John Lawson, The DC Marketer
6. Own Your Mistakes
Own your mistakes—the brands who spin a humorous response to an embarrassing mistake own it. Always be yourself. You have to live and breathe your brand, as does every employee, to ensure a consistent brand tone and story are achieved. – Sophie Bowman, Brand Branding PR LLC
7. Stay True To Your Principles
My mentor taught me the importance of brand authenticity in media, PR and marketing. She taught me that stable brands are always authentic and true to themselves first. They never chase trends. As a marketer, I always try to understand what defines a brand before I begin any campaign. Then I make it a point to stay true to those principles in any and all parts of our media strategy. – Travis Peters, Ranksharks Inc.