Public relations (PR) methods are used to permanently solidify the positive image of a company or a brand and to increase the attractiveness and recognition. Press work is an essential PR component. It informs the public via press releases about the latest developments in the company. With a uniform appearance, it also gives your company a face of its own from the outset. That means: Stationery, business cards, brochures and websites should always have the same recognisable appearance (corporate design).
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How does my company present itself to the outside world?
- How are product and customer benefits communicated?
- What impression should my company make and how can I achieve this?
- Which measures are planned for the image cultivation of the company?
In addition to advertising measures, you should examine the possibilities of various public relations measures. “Do good and talk about it.” This statement by Erich Kästner is of particular importance for companies. Press releases, brochures, events: Those who provide information about their advantages and successes establish a high level of recognition as well as a positive image of the company.
The importance of public relations should not be underestimated. Therefore: Communication is a matter for the boss. It's not enough to get it done on the side. Some companies already employ a member of staff just for PR after two or three years on the market. Even small companies should invest at least two to three percent of their turnover in PR (slightly more in the start-up phase). There are also novel ways for less well-off business start-ups, e.g. a listing in industry guides, an open day or an email newsletter.
You should give your company a face of its own right from the start. Above all, this includes a uniform overall appearance (corporate design). The logo, typography, product and graphic design, pictures, trade fair stand and employee clothing should also be consistent with your corporate design. This generates a high level of attention in the observer and is associated with independence, longevity, aesthetics and modernity. It is worthwhile to engage professionals for texts and graphic design (e.g. for image brochures), you can usually tell when something is “homemade”.
Having your own website is recommended. It is often the first point of contact for potential customers—your digital business card, so to speak. Certain rules apply when designing the site: It must convey the benefits you offer your customers at first glance. Therefore, present what you have to offer briefly and simply. The website should also match your image graphically. Images, graphics, flash animations: Make sure that your page is not unnecessarily overloaded. Every gimmick extends the loading times and puts the patience of your customers unnecessarily to the test. A rule of thumb: The loading time must not exceed 10 seconds. The website is not only a contact point for (potential) customers, but also for multipliers such as journalists. Keep your site up to date at all times. Make sure that you enter names, telephone numbers, event dates, employee numbers, etc. correctly. To particularly please journalists: Offer (free) photos in printable quality for download.
In the meantime, there are good templates for the creation of websites that allow you to create appealing websites. This makes it possible to keep costs reasonable. You should generally make sure that your website works just as well on all mobile devices as it does on your PC.
Concerts, art exhibitions, sports events: Sponsoring events also allows your company’s name be brought positively into the headlines. For example, you can print your logo on the jerseys of the local football club to advertise your company or on the ticket for a cultural event in your city. As an ambassador for a “good cause”, for example as a promoter of environmental measures or research projects, you position yourself in the market as a socially responsible company—this is also usually useful from a PR point of view. It is nice if this event has a regional connection. Example: You have a computer shop and organise an exchange campaign “old for new” for your customers. The customers buy new PCs from you, the old ones you install in the local primary school and provide the support.
Another essential PR component is press work. Via journalists, who act as multipliers, press work uses press releases to inform the public about the latest developments in the company. Your benefit: You are talked about, establish a positive image of your company in the mind of the readers, and profit from the credibility of the medium. The rule is: The more innovative and customer benefit-oriented a business idea, the better the chance of a press response. On the other hand: If the unique selling point is missing, entrepreneurs must set a different focus in their press work. Possible reasons for a press release are, for example, participation in a trade fair, a good position in the start-up competition, a major customer acquired, social commitment or newly created jobs. What's new at the company? Local advertising papers in particular are often grateful for editorial input. But you should not shy away from big names either. There are certainly realistic chances of appearing in supra-regional media as well. The only important thing is that the written press release complies with some formal ground rules.
The most important rules when writing a press release are:
- The message must have a news value.
- Ensure the wording is brief and concise (a maximum of two pages and subheadings).
- Comprehensibility: Do not use foreign words and abbreviations.
- Do not write in an advertising style (no superlatives or tired phrases such as “innovative products”, “tailor-made solutions” or “customer orientation”).
- The data must be reliable and truthful.
- Preserve the message character: Do not offer long reports or a journalistic introduction. Editors usually want to write these things themselves. Useful: Verbatim quotes from the boss (i.e. you) or an expert.
- Attached photos should be offered digitally (high resolution, 300 dpi).
- Do not forget for further inquiries: Always provide one competent contact person with telephone number/email details.
- Avoid sending the press release in the email attachment. You email might get caught in a firewall. Therefore, copy the message text into the email. “Press information” or “press release” is often placed in front of the text.
We give ourselves the image of a young, “fresh” company that sets itself apart from its competitors through excellent quality and performance from a single source. The external appearance is modern and innovative. This can be seen, for example, in the comprehensive online integration. Nevertheless, we do not want to appear impersonal, instead surprising our customers again and again with a personal touch.