It makes sense to use PR when you’re getting bad press, like in these uh-oh moments in PRSay’s top PR disasters. Every business should be prepared for a scandal, lawsuit, social media or advertising blunder, death of an employee, data breach, damaging weather, and other situations.

But public relations can be used in many ways—not just when things go wrong. It can promote a new location, launch a new program or product, and draw crowds to an event. It doesn’t just help with day-to-day marketing either. PR is a most versatile tool that can be used in nearly any business situation.

8 Times to Use PR (when it’s not an emergency)

  1. When message matters. Clear positioning and messaging—language that defines who you are and what sets you apart­—is essential for every business. It’s important at the start of an endeavor, through the life of your business, and especially when you have a complex or changing business model. In this example, getting the story just right helped the Great Lakes Practice Transformation Network recruit 11,500 doctors and clinicians into the network before their deadline.
  2. Day in, day out. PR doesn’t need to be a fire drill. Employees at every level should fully understand your mission, vision, values, and strategy—basically, why you exist and their role in making it happen. Clear internal messaging, right down to the elevator speech and for each audience you serve, makes this easier. And since employees come and go, this is an all-of-the-time effort.
  3. To listenalways. Business never stops, so we listen to and monitor brands 24/7. Set up feeds, keyword searches, and notifications on your business and competitors. Track the sentiment and reach of these conversations and consider their impact and potential. PR can be your eyes and ears, helping you identify and navigate situations and leverage opportunities as they’re happening.
  4. During times of change. Whether you’re expanding or laying people off, change is hard. We’re creatures of habit. Change without context makes us uncomfortable. Leaders: Be succinct in what you say, notify all the right people, time messages appropriately, and repeat them often. Use internal and external communications to clarify expectations and get everyone on the same page.
  5. When you’re stuck. If sales are waning, maybe legislation or regulations are slowing things down. Lobby to protect your product or industry. Maybe you’re getting beaten up by an advocacy group. A PR strategist can help assess the situation and determine the best way to address your concerns—before it blows up.
  6. When things are going well. Have you won an award? Do you give back to the community? Will you be on a panel or speaking at a conference? Are you making headlines? Don’t be shy, share this news. PR makes sure you are seen, heard, and talked about.
  7. When sales need a boost. PR and marketing go hand-in-hand. A well-rounded digital strategy supported by PR can boost SEO rankings and generate traffic and leads. Know and talk to social influencers. Reach out to the media and bloggers. Be active on the right social platforms.
  8. Before issues pop up. PR is like an insurance policy. Having a crisis communications plan, spokespeople trained, and talking points prepared, as well as testing them regularly, keeps you and your staff ready for the most likely and worst-case scenarios.

PR is for the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of your business. It can protect your interests and tackle all sorts of business needs. But don’t wait for an emergency. Break the glass now, use PR regularly, and keep it handy in your marketing toolbox.