June 5, 2013

Editor’s letter as published in the June issue of Pet Age.

Like most journalists, when I got burnt out from years of long, crazy hours spent covering breaking news, I jumped ship and went to the “dark side” – public relations. I went and worked for a public relations firm as their social media coordinator.

While it’s not as bad anymore, it traditionally was a move others in the journalism industry would frown on it. In reality, it was one of the best career moves I could have made at that time.

Not only was I doing social media marketing, but I was working with veteran public relations professionals who knew how to get placements for clients in major publications, snatched big name interviews with well-respected news personalities and went well beyond just pitching, but also worked with marketing professionals to create a full 360 degree plan for clients.

It instilled an important lesson. Good marketing and public relations can really help a business, company or in the case of this month’s cover story, your retail store.

Spending money on marketing or public relations may seem like something a small business doesn’t need, but it’s the furthest thing from the truth.

We’ve built this issue around one simple, but complex, concept, marketing your business. It may sound simple, but standing out in a crowd of consumer options can be a very difficult task.

For our cover story, we talked with both marketing and public relations professionals to give you an example of the differences between them, how they work in tandem with each other and some ideas you may want to use to help promote your business.

Our guest columnist in this month’s business strategies section talks about the tough decision on whether or not to hire a public relations firm, or do it yourself. It also includes tips on how to find the right public relations person, or firm, for your business.

It may cost more than you would like to spend, but marketing and public relations are so important to small businesses; and, not just any marketing and public relations, but good marketing and public relations that comes with a strategy.

If you don’t come from a marketing, or public relations background, it is well worth the money. Just as John Cullen, principal of Bulldog Marketing and Sales, suggests in his video, “10 Signs You Are Pet Business Clown,” on our website, you can build the cost into the price of the products you buy at your store.

When coming into the pet industry, most likely you did it because you are passionate about pets.

If that’s the case, you should be spending as much time as you possibly can to run your business and make it successful, and leave the marketing and public relations to the experts.

When you work with someone who is passionate about marketing or public relations, together you can build a very successful strategy to move your business forward.

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