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Why Small Business Must Turn to PR

Please feel free to publish this article and resource box in your ezine, ... offline ... or website. A copy would be ... at ... Net word count is 670 ... gu

Please feel free to publish this article and resource box in your
ezine, newsletter, offline publication or website. A copy would
be appreciated at Net word count is 670
including guidelines and resource box. Robert A. Kelly © 2003.

Why Small Business Must Turn to PR

If small business had no important outside audiences, it wouldn’t

But since they do have external “publics,” it’s doubly unfortunate
when those same small business owners seem unconcerned about
the very outside folks whose behaviors can place a choke-hold on
their business!

And worse, are so casual about public relations, the best way to
move those behaviors in their direction.

Is that you? What’s the problem? Can you think of any other way
to marshall those groups of people you need so badly if your
business is to succeed?

Face it. You must turn to public relations if you are really serious
about getting those important outside people to support what you
are trying to do.

And the best part is, there’s no mystery about how to do it!

Start today by listing your important outside audiences in priority
order. No doubt, customers and prospects will place #1 and #2.
But think carefully about your local and trade media as well as
community residents and leaders, suppliers and the like. The test
for adding an external audience to your worry list is this: if left
unattended, could its perceptions and behaviors hurt your business?

Since there is no other affordable way to find out how each of
your target audiences perceive your business, products, services
and operations, you must take the time to do it yourself along
with your colleagues. Interact with members of that key target
audience and probe their perceptions with plenty of questions.
Watch for misconceptions, inaccuracies and rumors that need to
be corrected. Stay alert to negativity of any kind.

This will let you decide how much you will try to alter perceptions
among each audience. It also becomes the behavior modification
goal against which you will measure your progress.

Now it’s message time. What will you say to members of your
target audience to alter that negative perception that surfaced
during your conversations with them? Your message must be
persuasive, so stick with the facts and present them clearly. By
identifying honestly what is really at issue at the moment, you
impart a sense of credibility to your comments, and their
timeliness adds a compelling dimension to your message.

What’s the best way to get that message to the eyes and ears
of members of your target audience?

Here, you have an embarrassment of riches with dozens of
communications tactics including news announcements,
op-eds, letters-to-the-editor, speeches, community briefings,
broadcast and newspaper interviews and many, many others.

Progress can best be tracked by interacting all over again with
members of the target audience. While you’ll ask questions
similar to those you asked in your earlier monitoring sessions,
this time you’re looking for signs that your message got through.
In other words, signs that your message succeeded in altering
any negative perceptions of your business.

You should also monitor print and broadcast media, key
customers and prospects for similar indications of success.

Should progress not be fast enough for you, you’ll want to
consider increasing the number of communications tactics you
employ as well as the frequency of their use. Your message
should also be re-evaluated for its factual basis and clarity.

Gradually, your monitoring will playback perception changes
among that target audienceFree Web Content, and that means the behaviors you
seek will not be far behind.

It is this kind of success that tells us very clearly why small
business must turn to PR if it is to realize its potential.


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Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks about the fundamental
premise of public relations. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.;
AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport
News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communications,
U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press
secretary, The White House.

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