Can PR really make a difference to your small business or startup? 

- March 12, 2024 3 MIN READ


The importance of public and media relations for all businesses can sometimes seem nebulous. But a PR program that is well planned, successfully executed, regularly monitored and continuously adjusted can be a powerful enabler of success, writes Anthony Caruana and Kathryn Goater, Co-CEOs and Co-founders, Media-Wize 

PR is not a direct sales tool. The power of PR is through positively influencing your target audiences. An effective PR program establishes and builds trust and credibility. It enhances awareness and boosts reputation. When done right, it can lead to more customer success and sales.  

What we know about creating awareness with target audiences such as customers is that purchasing decisions are rarely made by looking at a single set of information. There’s a solid body of research that says about two-thirds of a customer’s buying journey happens independently, well before they visit your website or engage with you.  

The widest part of your sales funnel is potential customers learning about you and your products and services before there’s any engagement, or even a hint of engagement. This is why a PR program is so important for businesses of all sizes. It helps let customers and key target audiences know you exist, helps to give them a positive impression, can boost confidence in engaging with your brand and can make them curious to find out more.   

Independent validation 

 PR experts can help you prepare your small business or startup for success with the media, from training spokespeople on how to handle likely questions from journalists to finding the stories you can tell and presenting them in an engaging way.  

When you secure a story in the media on merit, because your business or startup was newsworthy, topical, interesting or different, you gain independent validation and credibility in the market.  

Widening your net 

A PR program can boost your business’s visibility and increase brand awareness. While a well-written and presented website is essential for any business, you can expand your online footprint with a PR campaign. The more times you’re mentioned and referred to, the broader your reach.   

With most purchasing journeys starting well before you ever hear from or see a potential customer, ensuring your stories are accessible to as many audiences as possible is a powerful way to ensure you’re casting your net as widely as you can.  

Complements your marketing and advertising 

Marketing and advertising campaigns are critical for the success of every business. They ensure your brand is visible to potential customers. A well-crafted and expertly executed PR campaign complements these efforts by enhancing trust in your brand, products, and services and positioning your founder and senior executives as leading authorities.  

 Bill Gates is quoted as saying that if his business was down to its last few dollars, he’d spend half on PR. That’s because he understood the value of building trust and visibility. If sales are about closing deals and marketing is about boosting visibility, PR is about building trust. All three elements are critical for business viability and success.  

The journey from initial contact to closing a sale is only the last third of your customer’s journey. The first two-thirds happen before you have any direct influence or communication. Ensuring your brand is well presented and represented in the public domain is critical for ensuring customers don’t just know you but also trust you.  

 A well-planned, executed and monitored PR program can help your business grow by providing independently validated information that is available to a broad audience. This will ensure you are part of the customer’s journey from the moment they start, boosting the chance they will engage with you.  

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