Public relations (PR) is not solely the luxury of large brands with large budgets. In today’s multi-channel era, SMEs should be open to PR—and use it to their advantage.

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Here are 10 reasons why an SME can’t afford to ignore PR in its overall marketing efforts:

1. Brand awareness is a primary motive for any PR drive for an SME. Do your potential customers know who you are? Do they know what you offer or sell? Do they know how to contact you? Do they know where you’re based?

If an SME answers “no” to any one of these questions, a considerable portion of brand awareness is being missed—which, further down the sales (“conversion”) funnel, translates into missed revenue opportunities.

2. PR is typically lower cost than advertising. One press release with effective distribution can be disseminated to a variety of high profile and well-read news outlets, each with highly engaged audiences.

These audiences are customers and fans in-the-making of a given SME.

3. If your target audience know of your brand, your advertising efforts will provide greater Return on investment (ROI).

A great example of this is the cost of branded terms on the Google PPC space, against generic terms. Your branded terms are invariably cheaper and tend to produce much higher conversion rates.

If more people know of your brand to start with, branded marketing can cover off a larger portion of your revenue stream at a much lower initial outlay.

4. PR enables an SME to position its brand values more effectively than an advertisement.

The reason for this is that a press release allows its author to authentically talk around the business, across a greater amount of space and number of words than a print ad, an online ad or a display banner.

5. PR gives credibility and trust. While skilled PR managers are adept at creating content for journalists, the story will ultimately only make on account of its relevance and craftsmanship.

Contrast this with the paid-for nature of adverts, and the difference between third party credibility and promotion is clear.

6. PR practitioners are experts in conversation. This natural ability to engage in two-way dialogue will enhance your business via social media, traditional and with any internal marketing activity.

7. PR directly aids online reputation management. Curating online reviews of your company managing reputation via social media and blogs is effectively producing free PR in an independent fashion.

[Related: Social media: Putting the right foot forward]

8. Taking the online element of PR a step further, content on third party influential news sites and blogs will aid search engine visibility.

This is modern-day link building and when carried out by a skilled PR practitioner will result in an increase in search engine rank and revenue.

9. Your reputation is the precursor to your shop front, your website and even the products and services that you sell. Proactive and reactive PR can position you as an ethical and expert supplier:

Proactive PR anticipates the concerns and needs of your audience, and gives you’re the opportunity to present key aspects of your business.

Reactive PR takes the form of responding to the news agenda, to social media and to any noise around your brand. In this case, a swift and open response furthers your good reputation, even if the initial noise is on the negative side.

10. Finally, a PR drive can join up messages between marketing channels, to create a fully integrated campaign for an SME. This campaign may be product-led, service-led or have its roots in brand awareness.

Louise is the Managing Director of Brazen based in Dubai Media City. A PR professional for the past 13 years, Louise has spearheaded global campaigns for famous brands such as Merlin Entertainments, Hasbro Inc. and The North Face.She’s passionate about all things PR & Content Marketing and Dubai, especially after a morning Espresso.

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