Public relations is often called free marketing or free advertising by the public because there is no placement cost. It allows professionals to get visibility for a private practice without paying the media outlet.
It's true; one of the advantages of public relations is that there is no financial cost for news coverage. However, I have always said that you pay with your time. For PR to be effective it must have consistency, not only in message but in ongoing contact and availability. For professionals, that can be expensive...and another good reason to keep it simple!
Public relations is the discipline that looks after reputation and its goal is to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between a business and its "publics." This makes it the perfect marketing tool for a private practice; it establishes your credibility, supports your professional image and serves as an educational tool.
Although there are many aspects to PR, the one most suitable to professionals is called expert positioning. This simply means that you want to be seen by the public as an expert resource, as THE person to go to for the best service available and for the most accurate and thorough information.
Some of the specific strategies available to professionals include:
Referral marketing, although a stand-alone strategy that often refers primarily to Internet marketing, is closely related to public relations and integrates well in any PR program or campaign. Its purpose is to generate word of mouth referrals.