It is uplifting to start seeing SMEs look to PR as a viable business tool, but there are still not enough actually engaging with it. This is usually because of a lack of understanding in terms of its importance and how it works, as well as committing to budget. It is frustrating, because even though you have referrals and case studies, potential clients still lack the backbone to make a decision. I do often wonder if I was a man, wearing a suit, if it would make a difference, but that’s not going to happen soon, so I will keep on beating my ninja drum about the power of PR, why connecting people matters, and that education and awareness remain key in today’s volatile economy. Reputation management is under a major spotlight currently and the best tool to use to build a solid reputation is PR. If you want to educate, in other words tell people, about your business, who you are, PR is the answer. Creating awareness is another must have for businesses, yet they think the answer lies in advertising and social media. If you have budget for a 6 – 12-month ad campaign it could help (but really what SME does?) Social media is about more than random retweets, but needs a solid PR or communications plan behind it, to be truly successful. After 27 years, I still have so many people in my life who will unashamedly admit that they still don’t understand what I do. So in a nutshell: I communicate on clients’ behalf to their target audiences. This is most often via media, which is the main conduit to people. This involves lots of writing, strong media relations skills, creativity, intelligence, strategic thinking and an ability to multi-task like a bomb. PRs used to be called Spin Doctors but more recently, thankfully, we are now seen as story tellers. We help clients communicate both internally and externally. The clincher is you pay a marginal retainer for the value you receive in media coverage, relationship building and strategic positioning. While I do have clever clients who lead their marketing with PR, unfortunately there are still so many SMEs who don’t even consider it a priority. I am really hoping that this change continues at a more rapid pace and PR is given its time in the sun, and appreciated for the strategic importance it brings to business. We are deserving.