Dont Be Incredible

Public relations is all about credibility and trustworthiness. If you don't practice PR, then you are likely to be incredible.

Some of the elements of a PR program include research, media relations, publicity, special events, employee relations, client relationship management, crisis communication, trade shows/conferences, community and government relations, and corporate identity. PR helps you shape internal and external opinion about your organization with an eye toward building support among your key "publics."

What can you expect from PR if it is done correctly?

- Boost Credibility. Media coverage or word-of-mouth from the right people heightens your credibility much more than an ad ever could.

- Build Trust. People trust what they are familiar with. A proactive PR program that gets and keeps your name in front of people can be the first step in building that trust.

- Generate Leads. Positive publicity for your products and services can generate sales leads for you to follow up.

- Word-of-Mouth. By increasing awareness of your company, people and products, media coverage provides fodder for the word-of-mouth machine.

- Shape Attitudes. From employee communication to publicity, PR tactics can be used to tell your story convincingly to key publics.

- Refine Customer Service. Those who believe PR is about one-way, top-down spin doctoring - I hope - are relics of the past. Two-way PR, in which the company actually solicits and listens to customer feedback, can provide the kind of edge companies need today in this age of commoditization.

So, don't be incredible. Make PR an integral part of your business strategy.

Harry Hoover is managing principal of Hoover ink PR, http://www.hoover-ink.com. He has 26 years of experience in crafting and delivering bottom line messages that ensure success for serious businesses like Brent Dees Financial Planning, Duke Energy, Levolor, New World Mortgage, North Carolina Tourism, VELUX and Verbatim.

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