As an office technology dealership owner, maybe you just opened a new location. Or you won a “Dealer of the Year” award, or hired a hotshot new rainmaker and you want to tell the world about it. And why shouldn’t you? Positive news can yield favorable results. It can boost your company’s brand awareness and showcase your business as an industry leader. And when you are before a prospect and looking to close a deal, it’s great if the prospect has heard about you and already has formed a positive impression about your business.
And, in a market where finding employees can be difficult, it doesn’t hurt to have ongoing positive news associated with your company’s name. A Harvard Business Review article confirms what most employers already know instinctively: namely, that companies with strong reputations are more appealing to prospective employees.
How do you achieve this ongoing visibility not only in your industry but your local markets as well? One way is through a public relations (PR) campaign. Public relations, often described as the practice of garnering media coverage for a business, helps position the business owner to become the dealer that is talked about in the right circles.
There are many marketing options available to the office technology dealer and they all have value—social media, digital advertising, e-newsletters, networking and paid print advertising, to name just a few. PR is the marketing strategy, however, that sometimes gets overlooked or is under-utilized. And it can be a very powerful means of marketing a business. What sets it apart from some other types of marketing is that it is deemed to be “third-party approved” information – meaning that an editor, webmaster or other gatekeeper has agreed that this information is worthy of coverage. You will sometimes also hear PR referred to as “earned media,” meaning that it is typically provided to the dealer at no cost.
Elements of a PR campaign can include:
- A press release, which is an announcement of a company milestone: anniversary, new hire, new product or service, award won, or community good works.
- Introduction of you, as a business owner, to a range of media personnel so that when they are working on a story that plays to your area or expertise, you’ll be on their “call” list for comment.
- Profile or feature: This is when a media outlet profiles you/your business; this could appear in a magazine, on a website, TV or newspaper.
- Thought leadership articles: Placed in business magazines or websites, these articles can showcase a dealership’s expertise. For example, an article entitled “Ten reasons why MPS is beneficial for your business,” can be a persuasive reason for the reader to contact your dealership. Similarly, an article “Five tips every business owner should know to avoid getting hacked” when placed in the right media can likewise encourage an outreach – or at the least give your firm the competitive advantage that comes with “Didn’t I read an article you wrote recently?”
- Events – such as ribbon-cuttings and anniversary celebrations.
- Competitions – such as “Business of the Year,” “Elite Dealer” and other chances to put your dealership in the limelight.
For most dealerships there is no “one size fits all” approach to marketing your business. It’s usually a combination of at least several strategies. Using PR can make a difference in a dealership’s overall visibility and brand awareness, whether the effort is attempted internally or overseen by an outside PR firm.
Good luck and good publicity!