You Don’t Have to Be Fancy to be Smart
MAPRagency’s recent efforts to help advance a ballot initiative in Boulder’s municipal elections this November became the target of an interesting tweet:
This got us thinking: since when is utilizing tools, networks and resources considered “fancy” rather than “smart”? Just like you hire a tax professional to help you navigate the IRS, public relations experts can help businesses (or causes) utilize their resources to help inform public awareness. We’ve never thought of ourselves as fancy, particularly with all of the local small business and pro bono work we do, but it did make us wonder: Are small businesses intimidated by the thought of working with public relations (PR) agencies?
Don’t Be Afraid … We Won’t Bite
After some follow-up research and conversations with small-business owners, I came to the conclusion that the fear is indeed real. Many small-business owners are concerned with everything from pricing to lack of transparency to being “boxed” into a strategy that isn’t customized to their unique needs — and the list goes on. As an industry, public relations hasn’t done the best job of being approachable (how ironic, right?). But, just like your business, PR isn’t one-size-fits-all.
In fact, there are numerous PR agencies out there that do not have minimum budgets and retainers for clients, and many of these same agencies are transparent with regard to billing. As director of public relations, I want to make sure MAPRagency does its part to relieve business owners of these fears and develop high-impact, cost-effective PR plans that work for any business of any size.
PR Comes in All Shapes and Sizes
While hiring a PR agency may seem like something “fancy,” well-established companies do, it can actually be one of the best things for your young — and growing — business. From developing messaging to ensuring a successful product launch, a PR partner is invaluable in the early stages. PR firms can help you navigate investors, the press, and (sometimes) even your own staff, which can make a world of difference in how your company is perceived.
A PR plan doesn’t have to come with a huge price tag. Most agencies (and freelancers alike) offer a la carte services that you can choose from. For instance, maybe you’re looking for investment funding in order to properly launch your new technology. You can use public relations professionals to help you work on your elevator pitch, messaging and even connect you with some pitching opportunities or investor sources that could be valuable to building your business.
Similarly, you may be looking for help in reaching the press for a one-off event or project. Public relations can help by making sure you’re connected to the right people to boost both awareness and attendance at your event.
While having a publicist on retainer for commentary and counsel is necessary for some businesses, others may only need a small portion of services, like hammering down their messaging or tag line. If you’re not able to work with a full-service agency, most PR professionals can still help by pointing you in the direction of a smaller agency or freelancer that fits your needs. MAPRagency, for instance, is part of Stryker Munley Group, a larger organization of agencies of all sizes. If a business owner is interested in a particular set of services we cannot accommodate or is looking for an agency in a certain geographic location, etc., we can help connect them with the right people. After all, connecting people is a big part of what we do best.
Ask For Help
At the end of the day, one of the best things you can do as a business owner is recognize when you need help. No matter the issue, tapping the expertise of a PR professional can help you understand what it is you really need and connect with people who can help. We work with businesses of all sizes, from local startups to multimillion-dollar global organizations. Our network is large, and we encourage you to utilize it! Just like you, we aren’t experts at everything, but we can connect you with someone who meets your needs.
So, the next time you think about public relations, remember it isn’t just press releases! And you don’t have to be a big, “fancy” company to talk with us. The name of our game is connecting people, and we value every opportunity to help businesses of all sizes. Let us know how we can help you move your business forward!