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Who Really Controls Your Company’s Reputation?

As we are sure some of you have experienced, the public can either build or destroy your business’s reputation. Although the use of public relations should help you convey your company’s message, products, or services, it is ultimately up to the public to determine how that message is understood. As Mark Twain once said, “The public is the only critic whose opinion is worth anything at all.” Therefore, your company should create content that appeals to your stakeholders in hopes of provoking positive communication about your company.

Unfortunately, we have found that some businesses do not know how to communicate with the press which can create a public relations disaster. To stay away from possible negative publicity, we recommend hiring a public relations associate who can prepare a public relations plan. Often, the associate will create an organized plan focused on the company’s goals and target market. These goals should be specific, realistic, measurable, and time-oriented to prevent any errors. An appropriate goal could be something like, “Create awareness about our student specials to incoming University of Tampa students by early October”. This goal has a clear objective, classified target market, and realistic deadline.      

Once this is complete, a PR associate can explore advertising opportunities across multiple mediums. If your company has a positive reputation with the press, you are more likely to be featured again. However, do not hesitate to create a media release introducing your company to new press, inviting them to upcoming events, or announcing promotions. A proper media release will start with a catchy headline summarizing the event and a lead describing who, what, where, when, and why the event is held. Following, is a detailed description of the event, a section about the company, and the company’s contact information. Take note that journalists can receive hundreds of press releases a day, so be sure to make yours stand out from the others! 

As a small business, the results of a press release can be equivalent to those of big-budget ads for corporate companies in that they help grow business, increase profit, and produce sales. Therefore, one simple slip could ruin the entire reputation of your business. To prepare for these unwanted possibilities, we recommend rehearsing possible press interviews with your employees before the event to ensure that they are informed on what to say. You can also research the news teams you invited to the event by reading their past stories and reviews. This information can help you understand the team’s style and create slants from previous cases.  

If your company does experience a PR crisis, use the experience to your advantage by analyzing what went wrong and how you can improve the next time you engage with the media. In the end, positive coverage can instantly diminish any negative coverage, so try to respond quickly.

We have found that public relations can persuade the public to maintain or create a particular perception about your company. In the long run, this attention can grow awareness about your company. So, we encourage you to use public relations to your advantage by preparing your team on how to interact with the media and the public. 

If you have any questions about how public relations or press releases, please contact the Absolute Marketing Solutions team for more information.

Natalie DiRoberto

Natalie DiRoberto is currently a Junior at The University of Tampa studying Communications, with a focus and culture media, and Marketing. Natalie was awarded the Dean’s Scholarship three years in a row at UT.

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