From a readiness to intervene in a crisis to help in making you stand out from competitors, here are 10 answers to the question, “What are signs that a small business should hire a PR firm?”
If Your Brand is Coming Under Scrutiny
Small businesses spend a great deal of time trying to establish their brand, but if they are having trouble maintaining their message and protecting it, it is a good sign they should hire a PR firm. There are many advantages to having a more recognizable brand, but one consequence of gaining that notoriety is that it can come under a great deal more scrutiny, and not paying attention to this factor can lead to a disaster.
A PR firm’s vigilance of your brand messaging, vulnerability scanning, strategies to maintain its good standing, and readiness to intervene in a crisis is essential to maintaining a positive view of your business. When your brand gains enough notoriety to where you notice it is also coming under scrutiny, then that is a solid sign it is time to hire a PR firm.
Able to Handle the Influx of More Business
If you’ve scaled your business inventory and infrastructure to handle an increase in sales, it may be time to invest in PR. When small businesses land key PR placements with reputable publications, they can quickly sell out their stock or reach their revenue ceiling, leaving tens of thousands of potential income on the table.
When you attract new customers to buy, and they face months-long waiting lists, you can alienate them before they convert. Often, you only get one chance to make a great impression. Don’t hire a PR firm until your business is ready to handle the popularity and growth they promise to bring.
Ready to Invest to Increase Visibility
Small businesses should hire a PR firm if they know what they want to achieve and have the resources to do so. Results don’t happen overnight with PR. You must set aside a budget to cover hiring an agency.
PR is an investment, not an expense. It takes time to build momentum, and if you can commit to making a long-term investment in your company’s visibility and credibility, you’re ready. When you see it in this light, it is a sign that you should hire a PR firm.
Business Traction Isn’t Hitting the Mark
PR can do many things for a business, such as building credibility, generating brand awareness, and developing trust. If a small business isn’t meeting its goals for new customer leads or conversions, it’s always a good idea to work with a PR firm or consultant.
It can help you gain more media visibility, deliver backlinks to drive traffic to your website, plus generate buzz for your business. PR is also a superb partner for your marketing team to help develop new campaign ideas and reinforce your overall marketing efforts and goals.
Katie Waldron, PR Consultant, Freelance
Have a Press-Worthy Company Milestone
In my experience with small business startups, it’s hard to get press attention—until you have a major company milestone. For example, raising a seed round of funding from venture capitalists can get media attention in SaaS software.
Hiring a PR firm can help maximize the media exposure you can get from your milestone to help tell your company story to a wider audience.
New Business Lacking Online Presence
Before jumping into SEO, you need to build a brand presence. This will make everything much easier down the line. PR spreads the word about your business and earns your links from high-ranking publications that can quickly help you rank higher in search.
Backlinks are still a critical ranking factor, and while you can earn them with SEO, the links you get from PR will be of higher quality and drive more impressions. Plus, it’ll get your brand in front of the right audiences.
Overwhelmed by Limited Time and Resources
Small business owners may have limited time and resources to devote to PR activities such as media outreach, content creation, and social media management. They may not have the expertise or industry contacts to navigate the complex world of public relations effectively.
If a small business is struggling to generate media coverage, establish brand awareness, or effectively communicate its message to its target audience, it may be time to consider hiring a PR firm. A good PR firm can help a small business develop a strategic PR plan, create interesting content, pitch stories to relevant media outlets, and manage its online reputation.
Ultimately, a PR firm can help a small business build credibility, increase visibility, and attract new customers, making it a worthwhile investment for those who are serious about growing their business.
Inability to Find Your Company’s Story
I have worked on my company’s PR for quite some time and have some experience in Public Relations to help me along. From my learning, as well as experience, I think there is a distinction between the use of hiring a PR firm compared to handling it in-house. Both offer benefits and can do good things for your company.
One sign that a small business should hire a PR firm is if the company is struggling to find the story. If they are coming up with campaigns and implementing strategies but cannot find the story that really stands out, then a PR firm can help. Often, a company has a story right in front of them but is too close to it or is just unable to see it. An external PR firm will spot it right away and then can take the steps to put it into action.
If a company can’t figure out the deeper meaning of its efforts and come up with an actual story to share, then I think it’s time a PR firm steps in!
Losing Customers to Competition
As a project manager at a solar energy startup, I’ve seen just how competitive the market can be and what happens when companies don’t have the right brand presence.
Your brand can bring in new customers, increase sales, and make any company stand out in the crowd—without visibility, you won’t benefit from any of these things. A PR firm can help to provide your business with the tools you need to succeed in your competition, boosting visibility, presence, and ultimately profits.
No Well-Defined Branding Message
It’s an essential aspect of any business. Your brand identity is how you present your business to the world and encompasses everything from your logo, tagline, voice, and messaging.
In the same way, PR firms can also help businesses create a strong media presence, build relationships with journalists, and secure media coverage for their products or services.
A powerful brand can help you stand out from your competitors, gain the trust of your target audience, and make an impression that will last. It’s important to make sure that your branding is consistent across all of your communication channels, like your website, social media, and marketing materials. If not, then consider hiring a PR firm to help you with that.
Brett Farmiloe is the founder of Terkel, a Q&A platform that connects brands with expert insights.