GROW! Marketing and Public Relations Tips

6 Reasons NOT to Hire a Lawn & Garden Industry Public Relations Firm

Posted by Susan McCoy on Wed, Oct 3, 2012 @ 9:39 AM

I talk to a lot of individuals and companies about public relations and have heard every objection under the sun as to why they don't need to hire a PR firm.  I am always eager to learn from people what their marketing goals are and how their current activities are helping to reach those goals.  Most often, it's that people don't understand public relations, have had a bad experience or think it will be too expensive. 

In the end, most people quote these six reasons for not hiring a PR firm:C  My Pictures GMG 2012 MANTS 2011 Christmas party 014

REASON 1: All we need is advertising.

FACT: Advertising is important in the marketing mix, but in this age of media overload, ads are seen as wallpaper: we know they are there but just don’t notice them.  Public relations, on the other hand, gets your brand noticed and creates demand because it is still seen as a “third-party media endorsement” - not a paid ad by you, the advertiser.  Particularly when launching a new plant or product, it is critical first to introduce your product to potential customers through a trusted source, like a magazine or blog. Media exposure grabs customers’ attention and gives your product credibility that advertising just can’t do. Often times an agency can help you break through the noise and reach a desired market quicker than advertising.

PR people set up media tours.REASON 2: I can call reporters myself. 

FACT: Yes, you can. Often, a reporter would rather talk directly to the “expert” than speak to a PR person.  Our goal is to make our clients newsmakers, and we’re happy to do our thing behind the scenes. We also know that, invariably, a reporter is going to call us back for more information or images that they need ASAP. And since it is our job, we respond quickly without missing deadlines. As a business owner myself, I appreciate that you wear too many hats to take the time to get to know reporters, bloggers and social media people. It’s enough to make my head spin, and I’m in the business.

REASON 3: I'm a good writer.

FACT: Great. It’s always helpful to clearly communicate.  But remember: Public relations is much more than just writing a press release and putting it over a wire service. Having a PR pro on your side maximizes media relations, social media, events, award opportunities and other PR activities in conjunction with a press release and this gives you a head start as you build your business, launch new products or services and grow sales.

REASON 4: I've got great promotional ideas.

FACT: True. Nobody knows your business better than you do. But bringing in a fresh pair of eyes pays huge dividends. You may be too close to the trees to see the forest, but a good PR person can see something new and fresh, something they think is newsworthy. And a PR pro can quickly call up their contacts and test new ideas that brings life to tired products or ideas. Just remember, even the best PR pro can’t work magic on a dying brand so make sure you are honest with your agency about past successes and failures.

REASON 5: We don’t have the budget. 

FACT: This is the most common reason people don't retain PR services, they think it costs too much.  Dollar for dollar, however, you get more bang from your marketing budget with PR than with advertising dollars.  The Wall Street Journal reports that companies under $20 million make the most efficient use of marketing resources with public relations. The value of a news story is worth six times that of a paid advertisement.  A PR program with us can run from as little as $3,000 to $15,000 a month.

REASON 6: I have plenty of time to do PR.

FACT: If you don’t have to worry about sales, employees, cash flow or making your customers happy, you probably do have enough time to handle your own public relations. Just  remember: PR is not a task you do now and then. PR needs to be planned, nurtured and harvested over a long period of time to get the traction you need to break through the noise and create a snowball effect - the more press you get, the stronger your PR efforts become. 

These are just a few of the objections we hear to hiring a public relations firm.  If you decide you want to explore hiring a PR firm in the lawn & garden industry, make sure they have experience in horticultural PR and marketing communications. Just like growing tender plants, this industry needs special care instructions.

If you think you can't do it alone, give us a call:

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Topics: Public relations, marketing communications, lawn & garden public relations, horticultural marketing communications, advertising

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