Recently at a marketing presentation to a group of franchisees, a representative of an advertising firm was discussing the wide range of paid media opportunities now available. Toward the end of the presentation, in almost an offhanded manner, she threw in a statement that always makes PR professionals laugh inside when they hear it.
“And don’t forget about PR,” she said. “That’s free.”
The veteran franchisees in the audience also had to be laughing inside. Anyone who has spent any time using PR to publicize and promote their business knows that PR is far from free.
To do it right requires a significant investment of time, effort and money. And for the individual franchisee or entrepreneur, time and money are often two things that are in short supply.
But the successful business owner knows it is well worth the effort to join networking organizations, develop relationships with the news media, conduct interviews, support community events, and everything else involved in creating and implementing a sound marketing PR program.
And why is this investment worth it? Why do the largest companies in the world with the highest brand awareness continue to devote significant amounts of their marketing budget to PR?
Because, as the old saying goes, “advertising is YOU saying you are good; PR is SOMEONE ELSE saying you are good.”
And in today’s marketplace increasingly driven by the rapidly evolving world of online communications, the impact and influence of “someone else saying you are good” has never been stronger or more impactful.
As Bill Gates famously said, “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.”
Perhaps the most successful entrepreneur of our lifetime, Bill Gates understands the value of PR and, as his statement points out, that it is certainly not free.
– Scott White
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