3 Public Relations Basics for New Entrepreneurs

Today we’re turning the blog over to BRA Member, Lexie Smith, Founder of THEPRBAR inc. and Co-Founder of Ready Set Coach for some PR 101. Keep reading to hear her valuable advice for new entrepreneurs regarding what public relations really is, and how to leverage it for your business!

If I were to pose the question, ‘what is Public Relations (PR),’ how would you answer? 

I ask this quite frequently when I’m in a “new room” (virtual, IRL, or otherwise), and the most common answer I receive is “press” or “getting featured in a magazine/on TV”.

Is this wrong? Technically, no. However, it’s far from a complete definition or all-encompassing of what PR truly is.

In this article, we will review 3 public relations basics that new entrepreneurs should know.

Public Relations Basics #1: Understanding what PR is

Now anyone can hop on Google and quickly find a variety of technical definitions for PR. For example, here is what Dictionary.com tells us:

Lexie Smith

public relations
1. (used with a plural verb) the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc.
2. (used with a singular verb) the art, technique, or profession of promoting such goodwill.

Personally, I think this definition is FINE, but I want to one-up it and outline a definition that is SO clear for entrepreneurs, that any potential for confusion is virtually obliterated. 

So, here is what we’re going to do.

We’re going to scrap any idea or association of what you currently think PR is. We’re going to wipe the slate clean and make room for a whole new understanding of what PR is, and what it can do for your business. 

Redefining Public Relations

public relations
1. The art of cultivating opportunities through strategic relationship building and maintenance. 

Over the past 11+ years, I have come to define what I do as working with clients to strategically connect with the six different “relations” of PR. These relations are public, media, customers, industries, communities, and investors. These six categories are essentially the six audiences or target markets that a brand, company, or person will aim to reach and influence through strategic PR efforts. 

Broken down they can be explained as….

  • Public relations – your relationship with the public.
  • Media relations – your relationship with the media (i.e. journalists, editors, bloggers, etc.)
  • Customer relations – your relationship with your customers. 
  • Industry relations – your relationship with others in your industry or similar field.
  • Community relations – your relationship with your community, either physical or online (like the BRA Network), in-house (employees), and external (your city). 
  • Investor relations – your relationship with investors and potential investors for those who one day want to raise capital, be acquired, or sell.
BRA Network group meeting in Los Angeles, CA

When we “do PR” we are essentially performing tactics that allow us to cultivate relationships, connect with, and create opportunities with these six different groups. When you more broadly define PR in this way, it leads you to the very intentional assumption that every business needs some form of PR. The question then becomes, “What type of PR should I focus on?”

Public Relations Basics #2: Understanding what type of PR you need

I tell my clients that to understand what type of PR they need, the first step is to outline their business objectives and goals. From there, you determine which relations will impact or play a part in helping to achieve that goal.

For example, a product-based business owner might want to increase online sales. So, which of the six relations do they need to reach to help them accomplish that goal? 

  • The public, if we consider them as potential new buyers. 
  • The media, as a means of reaching the public. 
  • Current customers, as a form of referral and word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Specific communities, to leverage as another area of potential new buyers. 

Conclusion: The above business would focus on targeting 4 different types of relations. 

All in all, once a business knows the WHO that they should be targeting, it then becomes significantly easier to outline the HOW, but we’ll save the HOW for another time.  

The takeaway?

If we define PR as reaching and influencing “the six relations”, then every business needs some form of PR. 

BRA Founder, Carrie Murray

Public Relations Basics #3: Understanding what PR can do for your business

When PR tactics are executed effectively, six main things can happen for you and your business. 

You can:

  1. Boost brand awareness
  2. Shape public perception
  3. Earn credibility & authority
  4. Establish company worth or increase valuation
  5. Gain new clients/customers
  6. Increase revenue

Different tactics will ultimately lead to different outcomes – and some will check off more than one. For example, let’s say you are featured in a Forbes article. You will, in effect, boost brand awareness (via Forbes’ readership), earn credibility and authority (you can now say you were featured in Forbes!) and both of these things can either organically generate leads (new clients/customers) or help to close leads if leveraged properly (increasing revenue).

Another example, let’s say you issue a public statement in response to a new or ongoing public crisis or social movement. This PR tactic will help you to shape public perception. While not immediately connected to revenue, it’s still vital to the overall reputation of your business.

Wrapping this Up

If you’re new to entrepreneurship, you are likely being inundated with large quantities of information. Understandably, this can quickly cause overwhelm and generally will force a business owner to prioritize where to focus first. Now that you know 3 public relations basics, I hope that you don’t add PR to your someday list and instead recognize the need to address it early on. 


If you loved this post, go check out our BRA Membership Directory for even more experts like Lexie, in every business field. Then read 5 Easy Tips to Create an Effective Lead Magnet for Your Business!

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