PR is usually seen as a sling shot approach to generating more awareness and ultimately more sales (or customers)...and the measurement tool used is usually based on how many media hits or feature story placements are secured. When that doesn't happen, it's back to the drawing board...but the truth is that PR is much more than securing media coverage, and it's definitely much more than press releases. Media is just one component of a well thought out PR strategy. Public relations is essentially about crafting and managing the public perception of your brand. It's about deploying a combination of communications tactics to continually shape and influence the public.

People get so caught up in the news release when the truth is that most are poorly written, are filled with so much self puffery and very little news, and/or sent to the wrong people who can't do anything with the release in the first place. Small businesses especially fall for the belief that press releases will product magical results. That couldn't be further from the truth. A few tips: 1- Be sure that there is actually something of importance to talk about in the release.

In just the blink of an eye, 2011 will be behind us and 2012 will be staring us dead in the face. Besides the normal challenges that come with planning for a new year, many companies simply struggle to maintain top of mind awareness and this eventually has a negative impact on brand positioning, public perception, and ultimately, sales. What other challenges is your company faced with? Is it generating media visibility, deepening brand visibility, remaining competitive, making the leap into social media, being more creative with your customer engagement tactics, or is your company simply faced with typical growing pains? Below are 7 tips to accomplishing your marketing goals in 2011.