Does Publicity Matter? … And Why You Need It

Retail stores often overlook publicity, though such an oversight might mean missing out on a lot of reward. A simple public relations plan can add leverage and inflate the impact of your marketing mix no matter how small you think your budget is. There are so many misconceptions about public relations and it can be a little overwhelming and frustrating to figure it out at first. Here are a few thoughts to get you started.

How it works.

Publicity is a symbiotic relationship that when done well benefits the media outlet, your business and your target market. Where your target market overlaps with the target market of the media is the sweet spot toward where you want to aim your efforts.

The media, whether traditional or new, has a need for content to drive consumers to read, view or listen. When the consumer has an emotional reaction to the content, whether good or bad, they are more prone to take action. The media likes this because it pleases their other audience, the advertiser (that might be you).

As a small business owner you can appear as an auxiliary to the content by buying ads. That’s certainly an element that has its place in most small business budgets. The other option is to make a concerted effort to become a part of the content. The payoff to the publicity seeking is that the audience will gain the perception that your business and expertise have the endorsement of the media. It’s a subtle change in attitude that could influence the buying choices of those in the market for your product or service.

What publicity can do is remind people who you are and what you stand for. Publicity is not a place to make sales.  It’s for to sharing a compelling message or story with your community. You can pursue national coverage, but doing so is largely overkill for the typical small business owner. You likely don’t want or need national coverage to achieve your marketing goals. The great thing is that getting publicity on a local level will build your local brand and keep your store top-of-mind within your community.

While media coverage doesn’t provide you with a personal soapbox for your sales message, sales do often follow media coverage. Generally, increased presence within the media means increased traffic.  When your in-store service matches the expectation you set in your collective marketing efforts sales will naturally follow suit.

More PR tips and resources in the weeks to come… stay tuned.