It’s a jungle out there. People everywhere are looking for the right match. It is no longer enough to have a good product or offer a great service; consumers today want long-term, meaningful relationships – not one-night stands. Think of your ad campaign as a first date. You make sure you look good, have something interesting to say and can offer something that “others” can’t. If that first date is a hit, prospects want more. That’s where public relations comes in. Public relations allows your customers to get to know you better. To be effective, your communications plan should include three types of messages – paid, owned and earned. Paid – This is primarily your ad campaign. You control the message. While good advertising creates a positive brand image, it does little to build relationships and is often low on the credibility scale. In addition, budget often limits the frequency and reach of your message. Increasingly, companies are buying ad space to ensure their public relations messages are seen and heard when they win awards, host special events or embrace a cause. Owned – Your website and your social media presence add up to owned media. Again, in this sector you control the message. While these are great places to tell your backstory, consumers know that you are telling only “your side of the story.” Here’s the trick. You can turn owned media into earned media with interaction. Allow your customers to post real feedback, show transparency, answer their questions and help them solve real time problems. This increases your credibility and may get you a third date. Earned – The best type of public relations is earned media. When third parties talk about you, your products and services or your commitment to community in a positive light, it’s credible and hits home with your target market. After all, they aren’t really buying your product or service; they are aligning with a company that shares their values. Earned media begins with establishing relationships with the media – newspapers, local magazines, radio and television stations. If they like you, they want to see you succeed – and they love to tell your stories. Taking your message beyond your advertising campaign, public relations: 1. Gives you credibility 2. Creates buzz 3. Creates a receptive market 4. Broadens your reach beyond the primary target 5. Increases exposure beyond and between paid media 6. Gets you the ring Think of HenkinSchultz, as your dating coach. We can make sure you make the right first impression, AND help you establish relationships that last.