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Local Marketing & PR :: Public Relations

Public Relations Planning

In a rapidly changing marketplace, strategic public relations (PR) can differentiate you from the competition. It can lead to positive community and industry exposure for your company, help reinforce your value, and create opportunities with prospective customers.

With the right planning, PR can raise market awareness, position you as a credible expert and industry leader, and generate actionable sales leads.

What Is Public Relations?

PR is the art of telling your business's story to a desired audience (customers and potential customers in your community) by building relationships. Used properly, PR can become part of your marketing mix, complementing your paid media. With today's highly connected consumer, it's important to keep your business's public image in mind.

Planning Your PR Efforts

A well-planned strategy is the key to any successful public relations effort. Analyze your communication objectives by asking yourself the following:

The answers to these questions will provide PR goals, target audiences, communication messages and an overall strategic direction for your PR efforts.


While delving into your local PR plan, it is important to remember not to lose sight of the Bryant brand. Bryant is a household name with a century of heating and cooling experience. Use this to your benefit, to help build your business. Bryant and you, our dealers, are a unified force focused on exceeding home comfort expectations. Bryant dealers are knowledgeable, reliable, engaging and approachable. Allow these traits to be part of your personal branding as you build out your relationship with your local community and acquire customers for life.

What is Newsworthy?

Good question. Just because it’s important to you, doesn’t mean it’s important to your audience. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What do they care about when it comes to your expertise?

Your public relations efforts should attempt to answer these key questions. It’s not the introduction of a new product, it’s the benefits the new product brings to the homeowner.

Target Audience

Determine how you will communicate your messages to the target audience. Since many of you will focus your efforts on the community and local homeowners in your area, this section will focus on implementing a local PR campaign.

Understanding Your Audience

Understanding your audiences’ purchasing habits is a key element. Positive PR helps get your business’s name out into the community in a good light and can put you top-of-mind when a customer has HVAC needs.

Before you invest a lot of effort in communications aimed at your audience, it’s important you understand the typical Bryant customer. The Stanford Research Institute found that customers most likely to be predisposed to the Bryant brand are influenced by credible and authoritative third party endorsements or information. This means Bryant customers place value in both negative and positive information communicated though third party sources like newspaper and magazine articles or television and radio news stories. Customers can recall what they hear from these stories when making purchasing decisions.

Typical Bryant customers do research before making a purchase. This research may include content found online, in newspapers or magazines, or through TV shows and news – all places where positive PR mentions about your dealership can influence a customer to think of you before the competition.

Contacting The Media

There are several media vehicles in your community that you can target when trying to get the information communicated to the public.

Most likely, you’re aware of the media personalities in your area. If not, compile a contact list of home improvement writers, broadcast reporters and editors for local remodeling or business magazines. Develop this list by noting the names of writers whenever you read a relevant article or through Web searches to identify recent local, home comfort stories.

Familiarize yourself with the work of these relevant personalities and make an attempt to introduce them to you and your business. Results won’t always be immediate, but these people may think of you the next time they decide to do a story related to home comfort. Don’t take refusal as a negative sign. Just like you, members of the media are very busy. Polite persistence is fine. Keep conversations and information relevant to them and their readers/viewers/listeners.

Contacting media sources for a newsworthy story idea is typically done through a press release and follow-up calls. When writing a press release, don’t include every piece of information about your topic – just include those aspects most likely to draw the attention of the media. The content of the press release, especially the lead sentence, should focus on the announcement of a newsworthy item.

Quick tips for formatting and distributing your press release:

Helpful Media Hints

Do your homework – Make sure you’re sending information to the correct person. Call the location you wish to submit to and confirm the appropriate contact, as well as phone number and email address.

Take initiative – Follow up with your contact if you do not hear anything in the next few days. Media representatives receive hundreds of letters and emails a day. If the contact does not have your information or cannot recall it, offer to resend it immediately to his/her attention.

If the contact tells you the story is not something they wish to run, don’t argue the value or topic with them. Thank them for their time and inquire about sending future stories for consideration. Building a relationship will ensure your information is secured when received.

When your information DOES result in a call back, keep in mind a few things:

Making News

It’s important to understand when your company has the opportunity to make news. Oftentimes, brainstorming can help you generate good ideas. Some ways to brainstorm:

When brainstorming PR opportunities for local media, put yourself in the position of the reader/viewer – who is also your potential customer.

While each dealership is unique, some areas where you might find PR opportunities include:

Keep in mind that not every single event, new product or anniversary is necessarily press release worthy. Use your best judgment and don’t send anything you don’t think is relevant to the growth of your business.

Outside of press releases, regular, community service and interaction is a great, grass-roots way to build a local presence.

Sharing PR Success

Once your company receives positive coverage, share the excitement with employees and customers:


Every organization practices public relations whether they know it or not. Every phone call, letter, social media post, and customer interaction results in the public forming some type of opinion about your business. The goal is to establish and grow positive relationships with those parties most crucial to your business. It takes a strategic, well-implemented public relations program to ensure that your organization is building goodwill in your community that can translate into loyal customers for life.