23/08/2011

By Louise Findlay-Wilson, Creator of PrPro and Owner of Energy PR

Why should you bother with PR? The tried and tested answer is that PR is free, (if you do it yourself) plus it is more credible and powerful than advertising.

However, I want to get away from this answer for a moment, not because it isn’t true, but because there’s a more important benefit.

When you focus on PR, you start thinking about your business in a different, much clearer way. I call it PR’s genius moment.

This moment comes because the act of embarking on PR forces you to answer four fundamental questions:

- What am I trying to achieve as a business?

- To achieve that business goal who do I need to reach?

- What do I want them to do?

- If they are going to do that, what must they think about my business?

General answers are not acceptable; to get the full benefit of this process you need to be specific. For instance, this answer from a packaging company doesn’t cut it:

‘We want to sell more packaging to more people like our current customers – to do this they have got to think we’re the best supplier of flexible film in the market’

It has a bit of detail, but nowhere near enough…

Achieve - How much more do you need to sell – are margins an issue or are you after volume, and are you looking to sell the same as you currently supply, or something new?

Who - who are those customers? Are they truly like your current customers or are they a bit different? What markets are they in, are they smaller companies, perhaps they are overseas? Who is the decision maker that you need to reach? Who else influences them?

Do - You want them to buy, but to do this what will they need to have done first? Visit your website, download something, see case studies, get you to quote, look at your facilities, meet your senior team?

Think - What does ‘best’ mean? Cheapest, innovative, great at short print runs, with overseas reach, the greenest, with lots of capital backing, working to the tightest lead times, great design team, best aftercare service, award-winning, working with the greatest mix of materials? What gives you the edge in this game of being ‘the best?’

Can you see how getting down to this level of nitty-gritty detail is powerful stuff? It suddenly helps you focus on what really matters.

You start thinking about what you’re trying to achieve, who’s going to get you there and what they need to hear about your business.

Once you have the answers you can then share them throughout your organisation. This ensures every fibre in your business is set towards delivering the same outcomes. You are focused on reaching the same people, developing and promoting the same qualities to achieve the same outcome.

It’s an incredibly powerful moment – and for even established big businesses it can be a breakthrough moment. (It can also be an incredibly sobering moment if members of the senior team sit down separately to answer these questions and then find that their answers are different!)

So, don’t see PR as a nice thing to do when you have the time. Even if you never plan to do anything more than this, ask yourself these four fundamental PR questions and spend proper time answering them. I promise you it will be the most productive thing you do this year. It’s that genius moment of clarity that PR brings.

If you are looking for a PR agency or want to do your own PR, contact Louise Findlay-Wilson on 01993 823011 or one of her businesses.

For training and tools so you can DIY PR visit www.prpro.co.uk

If you are looking for a PR agency visit www.EnergyPR.co.uk

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