Why We Hired a PR Firm
I believe every shop has a special story it would love to convey to its marketplace. But how? Even if I had the time, how could I convey my unique story? I certainly am not a professional writer and have no contacts in the media. But I would love to tell my story to the local radio and television stations, newspapers and magazines.
Certainly my shop is unique, and my story every bit as interesting as some of the gobbledygook I have read. But how can I get my shop's story told?
The answer: hire a public relations firm. A good PR firm has contacts in the media. And they know how to pitch your story.
In our shop's case, we were in our 75th year of business. We wanted to get the word out that the old body shop that people have been driving by in downtown Chicago all those years had a very special story. We fix 60 to 70 vehicles a week and do it well, but did not know how to get our story out. We needed help and decided to commission a public relations firm in Chicago to help us.
We hired a public relations company that had an automotive background and dealt with all media - newspapers, magazines, television and radio.
It did an excellent job telling our 75th anniversary story. We were mentioned prominently in local publications and in the local Chamber of Commerce's letters and e-blasts.
The PR team also assisted us in planning a charity benefit for Haiti in conjunction with our 75th anniversary. The benefit party was a smash with 400 people attending. It raised a whopping $17,000 for the ravaged country of Haiti.
The price of a PR firm is not cheap, but they are professionals. Just like any professionals you hire - including doctors, lawyers and accountants - you get what you pay for.
It is hard to put a price on confidence. I have total confidence in my business skills as a body shop operator - but not as a public relations person.
Honestly, I did not know what to expect from a PR firm. I was a bit skeptical. Measuring their performance is not an exact science. I checked around about the firm's reputation. Its staffers live and work in our community and that's a plus. The firm also is a member of our local Chamber of Commerce (which I strongly recommend every shop owner belong to!)
So I took the plunge into the unknown land of public relations. We have never looked back.
It has been a valuable piece of our overall marketing program. It allows us to do what we do best and let the PR professionals do what they do best. It is easier to have them brag about us rather than us doing it!
The returns are both financially and emotionally enriching.
We look at it this way: We sublet some of our work out to qualified repair partners - why not sublet a portion of our marketing program out to qualified professionals? After all, we all have a special story to tell, don't we?
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