For most businesses, public relations is something that happens when you have the budget or a big name. When you think of public relations, you think of celebrities on TV talking about their movie release or a big name author at a book signing. Most business owners don’t think their budgets or time will allow them to do effective public relations. And that simply may not be the case.
Jennefer Witter, a public relations professional, offers a beginner’s overview for those business owners who know they need more PR , but don’t know what PR they need. In “The Little Book of Big PR: 100+ Quick Tips to Get Your Small Business Noticed,” Witter provides over 100 specific tips centered focused around 6 commonly used tools in public relations. Those tools include:
- Brand management (specifically “Self-Branding”)
- Media relations
- Social media
- Public Speaking
- Cause-related marketing
Using the Knowledge and Tools the PR Pros Use
Most of us are aware of the efforts of public relations. But few of us understand the work that goes into public relations. Public relations is not simply creating a press release, taking a picture for the company newsletter, or holding a community event. Good public relations is how you use those tools to meet your public relations objectives. Those tools, in turn, depend on your relationships and your knowledge of how to use those tools. This is something that is emphasized in The Little Book of Big PR.
The Little Book of Big PR provides strategies on how to build those relationships and use those tools more effectively. In the chapter on self-branding, Witter makes the case that the personalities of our CEO’s have become linked to how we think about the business. Think about some of the top entrepreneurs of our modern era: Steve Jobs, Mark Cuban, and Bill Gates. Their personalities, words and actions daily are scrutinized in addition to their business strategies.
This mindset is radically different than a few years ago. Except for a few rare cases, the average consumer or business person didn’t know about the daily lives of top executives. Now it’s front page news.
While most of us won’t reach the levels of a Bill Gates or Mark Cuban, Witter’s point is that all business owners need to pay attention to what they say online and what others say about them. Reputations can kill a business. So it’s important to be proactive in building a positive, but accurate image of who you are and how that corresponds to your business.
The book’s strategies cover a variety of areas with varying breadth. In one chapter, you get a few brief suggestions about what to put on your Facebook page. In another chapter, you might get more detailed information on a public relations issue, such as what to wear and how to conduct yourself during a TV interview. In reviewing all of these strategies, you start to pick up on the secret behind public relations.
The secret is that there is no secret. Public relations experts use the same basic tools to get people booked on television and radio. The only difference is the amount of work they have spent on the relationships and refining their presentation skills. That’s it.
To summarize, great public relations is within the realm of every business, if you put in the work and use the tools available to you.
Is The Little Book of Big PR for You or Your Business?
Should you read this book? The answer depends on two factors: 1) your knowledge of public relations and 2) your budget. If you are a small business owner, this book has some merit. As discussed above, The Little Book of Big PR is an excellent introduction to public relations. It provides a great overview coupled with insight from an experienced professional.
On the other hand, this book may not provide enough depth and direction for a business just starting out. While the book covers some important areas, more information is needed at practical level. As an example, The Little Book of Big PR offers Facebook and LinkedIn as tools in the social media profile. What is not provided is information on other social networks (Twitter, Google+) or how to integrate this into an overall public relations plan. Also, there’s isn’t a lot of information on two essential issues in modern public relations – monitoring and crisis management.
In a nutshell, The Little Book of Big PR is good if you are new to public relations and want some insight into how public relations works and how you can take your first step in the water.
About the Author
Jennefer Witter is an experienced public relations professional who founded the Boreland Consulting Group. She can be found on Twitter at @JenneferTBG and The Little Book of Big PR is available on Amazon. The above review was based on an review copy of the book.