Reputation is everything. One of my former clients, Larry Silverstein, the World Trade Center developer, is fond of saying, “A man’s reputation can take a lifetime to build and a moment to be destroyed.”
And it’s true: One bad decision can obliterate a lifetime of hard work. Conversely, regular care and maintenance of your reputation can create opportunities that work for you even while you’re not working (or working on something else).
One of the compelling reasons to engage in a public relations (PR) campaign is to grow your business development prospects. Companies—and the people behind them—that are well-regarded and well-known in their industry tend to get the lion’s share of business inquiries and the contracts that go with them.
Here are three ways PR can turbocharge your business development prospects:
1. Grow your reputation: Do a Google news search for your strongest competitor and then your own company. The one that comes up first (unless they’re related to a scandal) will be more highly regarded and more likely to get business inquiries. Recognizing the value of a sustained PR program and how it feeds your pipeline of potential customers can pay dividends every month of the year.
2. Showcase your expertise: When someone has a problem and can’t fix it themselves, they look for people with the skills to solve it for them. Whether you’re a plumber or a PR man (like me), you have skills that other people need. Demonstrating those abilities by having a PR firm that can get you quoted in news articles drives people to seek you out when a problem comes across their desk.
3. Expand your network: A skilled PR practitioner can discover ways to promote you and your business outside your industry or to your target market. We recently helped to publicize the work of a robotics client in the New York Times by focusing not only on their innovative technology but on the people whom it would benefit. That one article got their phone ringing with inquiries from potential customers.
Utilizing PR and earned media publicity is compelling because of its authenticity. In a world where so much of what we can consume is suspect, coverage from trusted news sources will show people you’re the real deal.