Why Every Small Business Needs Both a Marketing and a Public Relations Strategy

Public relations and marketing go hand in hand. Typically, a professional working in one industry has at least a general knowledge of the other. But how do public relations and marketing differ, and how can they best complement each other?

On some occasions, individuals may actually confuse public relations for marketing and vice versa. While the two roles do share some similarity — both are, after all, looking to boost a  business in their own ways — they accomplish different things.

Put simply, public relations manages the image of a brand, its leadership, and its product or service. PR professionals manage the public and media’s perception of a business and are there in case a crisis needs attending to.

Marketing, on the other hand, serves to boost eyeballs on the actual product or service of the business. Marketing is intended to boost sales and company revenue through avenues such as advertising or internal marketing campaigns.

However, these two roles intersect at one common goal: make the company look good and perform as well as possible.

Let’s break down a basic PR and marketing strategy for a smaller business, just starting out.

Public Relations for Small Businesses

PR can start small, just like marketing. Public relations relates to the public, so a small business can start its strategy by identifying influencers and media outlets within the brand’s niche to begin reaching out to.

Press releases announcing the launch and benefits of a new product or service. Local media interviews can be booked with the company founder or another individual, and influencers can be approached to begin testing and endorsing the brand. Perhaps a community give back initiative can be researched to help the brand put down roots and align itself with its locale.

Marketing for Small Businesses

Meanwhile, the marketing professional will set about putting together consumable content for the target audience to see. Perhaps a social media campaign would be the best approach, or maybe there is a podcast with listeners in a specific niche that would complement the brand nicely.

The idea of marketing is to sell the product or service offered by the company. Whether it’s a paid ad campaign or an organic, content-driven campaign (or a combination of both!), the end goal should be to convert users into buyers and to drive traffic to the brand’s website and/or store.

How Public Relations and Marketing Complement Each Other

When executed correctly and with foresight, both public relations and marketing can help the cause of the other. On the PR front, garnering positive attention and influence through media appearances and community efforts, the brand builds loyalty. If consumers see an interview with the company founder and identify with him, they’re more likely to go and see what his brand is all about.

Meanwhile, marketers can focus on keeping the attention of those who are driven to the website or store by the various PR efforts. Strategic and catchy advertising, quality engagement, and effective metric tracking all contribute to the success of a campaign and the retention rate of customers.

While some individuals may confuse the public relations and marketing professions, it’s important to understand their differences and similarities. They coexist well and are both necessary to the success of any brand. Employing a strategy that utilizes these roles efficiently will help boost any brand.

Ronn Torossian
Ronn Torossian
5WPR Founder & CEO Ronn Torossian is a native New Yorker. Torossian has grown his PR Agency, 5W Public Relations, into a top 25 United States PR Firm. The company is headquartered in the iconic Helmsley Building in midtown Manhattan. Ronn resides with his children on the Upper East Side of New York City. Author of best selling PR Book "For Immediate Release", you can find regular contributions of Ronn's writing on the Huffington Post, Business insider, Fox News, Everything-PR, the Observer, Wired Insights and many other publications.
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