Friday, October 17, 2014

The Importance of a Public Relations Program

Pick up the newspaper and read an article. Or, go to your favorite online news outlet and skim through an entry. No matter the source of your information, you’ll notice that virtually every story includes quotes from an industry expert. Have you ever wondered to yourself, “Why is this person or company being quoted?” or “What makes this person or company the authority to speak out on this issue?” More important, have you ever thought to yourself, “You know… I would like to gain some publicity and get quoted in the paper…”?

Here’s the difference between the companies who are featured in news articles and you: those companies have a public relations (PR) program.

In case you are unfamiliar with the concept, let’s go to everyone’s favorite online dictionary, Wikipedia, for a definition: “Public Relations (PR) is the practice of managing the spread of information between an individual or an organization and the public.”  A lot of things can go under the umbrella of PR, so we’ll be more specific for our manufacturing readers.

the importance of a public relations program
A PR program would include developing relationships with journalists and writers for news publications. By creating these connections, reporters will quote you in their articles and go to you as a resource when they’re looking for subject matter experts. That way, when your target audience members read stories, they’ll see your name. This can help you gain exposure and establish credibility!

Here are some steps to help you get started:

1)     Research Publications: What news outlets do your target audience members read? Is it the local newspaper? Is it an industry trade journal, or scholarly publication? Is it a blog? Create a list of the outlets you want to get published in.

2)     Create a List of Reporters: Publications have numerous reporters. Read through the publications for stories about manufacturing or related business news. These are the reporters that you want to target. A potential place to start is the Michigan Press Association.

3)     Send Your Pitch / Press Release: To be clear, PR isn’t advertising. No journalist is ever going to publish a story that says “this company is the best!’ If that’s your expectation, then change your expectation. When you contact reporters, you aren’t asking them to write an article about your company and what it does. You’re providing them with something newsworthy for them to include in their articles. You can do this through the form of a pitch letter and/or press release. Here are some suggestions:

a.     Industry Trends: Conduct an interesting study or survey about your target audience and share the results with reporters.
b.     Host a Tour: Arrange a tour for students and educators to learn about manufacturing. Invite your local journalists to participate. This was a very popular arrangement for National Manufacturing Day.
c.     Major Milestones: If your company achieved something newsworthy, discuss it with reporters, but put it in perspective for the local community. Example: don't just say that your company hit its 25th anniversary. Share that your company hit its 25th anniversary, and in that time it created 500 local jobs for the community.

If a reporter mentions you in a story, don’t forget to thank him/her! Remember, it’s about building relationships with reporters. By embracing a PR program, you can ultimately gain more exposure and develop new business by getting consistently quoted in the paper!

For more information on how you can develop new business, click here.


Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.mmtc.org

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