For any business owner, brand recognition is the key to continual growth. In the highly competitive fire alarm dealer market, it’s especially important to keep your brand top-of-mind – and always in a positive way, of course. That’s where public relations comes in.
What is PR?
Public relations (PR) refers to any activity that helps to build awareness of a company, product, service or technology. PR also works to establish a company’s identity – whether it’s fun-loving, tough or heartfelt – within an industry.
Why is PR Necessary?
To some, PR might seem like an abstract business activity that only large, shady companies or celebrities require. But in fact, smaller fire alarm dealers could see a significant impact from PR, such as:
- Getting your company’s name out there – in newspapers, online, etc. – helps potential customers become familiar with who you are and what you offer, and more importantly, establishes you as an “industry expert”.
- PR can help educate end users on fire alarm technology and codes, to which most people outside of the industry are new.
- It highlights the good you’re doing. As a fire alarm dealer, your business helps other companies, their employees and the community. PR helps you spread the word and ensure that it stays positive.
Tools of the Trade
PR professionals use a variety of tools to reach their audiences. Here’s a quick summary of some that can benefit your business:
- Press releases: Notifications of company news, customer wins, events, charity work, successful projects, etc. Press releases are sent to local and industry media outlets, such as newspapers, magazines and websites, to encourage press coverage.
- Interviews: Here is an opportunity to establish yourself (and your company) as an expert in the fire alarm industry. At industry events, or following a new press release, reach out to members of the media and offer to do a one-on-one interview on industry trends, current events, fire safety tips, etc.
- Case studies: Following a successful installation, write up an overview of the project with quotes and information from your customer. Case studies can be posted on your company website to illustrate to potential customers how your services solve specific challenges. These offer great content for your social media channels to share too.
- Public service announcements: As part of the fire alarm industry, you have an opportunity to conduct community outreach and education on fire safety, response and technology. You might post fire safety PSAs on your website or social media pages, or even partner with a local television or radio network to provide your expertise on the subject.
- Bylined articles: Industry publications often look for articles written by fire alarm dealers, consultants and other experts. Reach out to editors in your field and offer to provide a bylined article on an emerging trend, current challenges, new codes, etc. However, keep in mind that most publications require bylined articles be strictly vendor-neutral; so focus on the broader topic, not your particular company or product offering.
You can start by doing some PR work yourself. If you’re comfortable with a bit of research and some writing, you can get off to a good start with a few press releases and press interviews. To find out more, search “DIY PR,” and dive right in!
Many companies of all sizes – from start-ups to global corporations – hire a third-party firm to handle their PR. A wide selection of PR firms are available to companies in any area, and many specialize in specific industries. A LinkedIn search can help you identify PR professionals with expertise in the fire alarm industry.
Whether you do your own PR work or contract out to a professional, keep in mind the end goal: You want potential customers to become more familiar with your brand, and to have your company positively recognized. With each piece of positive media coverage, your company will be one step closer to success.
About the Author
Meg Weadock is Content Strategist for CompassPR, which provides comprehensive public relations, marketing and communications services to emerging leaders in the technology space.