As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, December 2005.
Public relations can work wonders for small businesses. It can benefit anyone looking to expand with minimum resources. The problem with small businesses using public relations, however, is that it often takes time to work. Actually, it takes a lot of time. But there are ways to ensure it doesn't take months or years to take effect.
This is good news, considering that as a mortgage originator, you don't have years to build your business. You are hungry for commission, and you need it now. Public relations can help with that. Using direct-response public relations, you can generate leads instantly by reaching out to the public.
Unlike most public relations efforts, the goal in direct-response public relations is not to create and meld an image slowly to increase sales eventually. It is to increase sales more quickly as a direct result of a published article or press release.
Small companies can choose between doing their own public relations and outsourcing it. If you have a small company or are an independent agent, you probably should do your own public relations. It often makes sense, however, for small companies to hire a freelancer to write their public relations materials on a task-by-task basis. In these cases, a freelancer would charge a company a fee for writing and distributing each press release.
Larger firms should consider hiring a public relations firm on retainer. The quality of these firms is usually much higher than that of freelancers or in-house public relations departments, but they are also much more expensive.
A disadvantage of public relations is that it can be difficult to track -- unlike advertising, in which you can usually add a referral code to your Web site or phone number to track the results of the placement in a certain publication. Many publications will only include your regular Web site and name when they quote you.
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