The Public Relations Challenge

Pamela Caravas

The problem: You think you can do your PR through social media.

The bigger problem: You think you do not need “old fashioned” PR.

The solution: Get coaching to change your mindset.

The proof for the solution: read on

With all due respect to your efforts to set up a profitable business without putting aside some kind of budget for “public relations”, the ugly truth is that this will not be tilting in your favour.

Just consider this: you need to ask the right people to help you do this or that in your business – aside from buying the legendary yellow book on “how to become an entrepreneur”. And you have all sorts of questions: how did they do it? Did they have money from family or other funds? Is it a side hustle (I, personally, do not like that word), while they have another job that funds their start up? Do they know people in the market? How do they find clients? How do I get into that magazine?

A few things to make a note of: public relations are not just writing up a press release that you will send to the right (and, more often than not, the wrong) journalists. It is not setting aside money for an advertisement in the right publication. And it is certainly not marketing, though the modern marketers have convinced the majority of the “side hustlers” that PR is no longer as important as great digital marketing is. They couldn’t be further from the truth.

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What is PR for me?

Public relations are what the term actually implies: public, with everyone, to everyone and for everyone. Not a niche, not an elite group, not VIP or high profile clients, and certainly not just for the masses. It is public. And relations… well that is where the majority of the misconceptions lie. People act as if relationships are very important when you are in the corporate environment – though I have heard some say “I just do my job and go home”. Yeah, right – equally important when you are in the Silicon Valley looking for investors or in Israel trying to get the position as the most promising start-up, or enter the highly advanced digital world of Estonia, famous for its digital transformation and speed in doing business.

Somehow, however, the masses have been convinced that you do not need “public relations”, you do not need a budget set aside for those. Let’s take a look at how wrong this way of thinking is.

Those "6 figure business coaches"

Every fantastic business coach out there has found their own niche and they try to convince you that their secret sauce, aka “I entered the 6 figure world”, is the one that will make you set up a thriving business. For one business coach it is the email list, for the other it is Facebook ads, for a third it is Instagram, some others have discovered the LinkedIn stories and sell ideas how to create serious, yet catchy stories for the very CEOs who will want to hire you or look at your little product.

What about the “Tik tok coaches” or the “Instagram Reels coaches”? Admittedly, we do not have as many “YouTube coaches”. For some reason, the YouTube “algorithm” has remained quite hard to master. I have nothing against people who wish to make a living from thin air. No surprise, motivational speaking has long been a “profession” and people swarm(ed before Covid) to a room full of people listening to others talking about the difficulties in their life and how they made it. And the cash keeps rolling in. But, I digress. Back to PR.

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“I got street cred”

The examples: everyone wants a photo with Gary or Oprah or Richard (Branson), or Kim or Peter (Jones), though the latter is hard to find for a selfie. Simply because you need validity for who you are, for your existence, for a quote from them – even I got a quote from a professor for my training programmes in companies. It just happened. I did not go after it. But, I was thrilled and used it. And then, everyone wants that VIP membership in the Forbes Coaches Council or the Fortune 500 list. We need that kind of recognition next to the famous business person. We sell it afterwards. It attracts attention when our business or product cannot make it through the hundreds of thousands other businesses. We need that validity. We need to make people feel safe and secure that we are worth it or that our word is worth it – if, indeed it is.

Public relations are, in essence today, our desire to belong, to be included so that we can be seen by virtue of another person or entity’s network and visibility. Still, bear in mind that details also count. This we will cover in our next entries.

A final thing to consider. Public relations budgets also look very different from the budgets we knew up until now. Today, your budget could be your personal time, your energy and sleepless nights, and your personal development in getting to know all the first steps to create your own PR strategy. Even those time and educational investments are a budget. How much are you willing to pay?

Your personal development and understanding of your values is what will define the quality of your public relations and your strategy. Gone are the days when the company did not listen to the consumer and paid to deliver the message THEY wanted.
pamela caravas
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