PR in Five Easy Steps Every Small Business Can Do
Does your company have a PR strategy or a plan. Online PR is now within the reach of all businesses and that includes small local businesses. It is often an aspect of marketing that small businesses miss because they think of PR being an expensive exercise that only large companies can afford. The Internet has changed all that and it is possible to include a PR strategy in your overall digital marketing strategy. Here are 5 simple steps to help you make a real start…
First of all, get into the PR mindset. Every business should think about what you are trying to achieve as a business and who you need to make this happen. For example, if you want to boost sales by 20% and reach more customers, then you need to think through and have answers to the following questions – Who are the prospects we want to reach? Where are they located? Who is the decision maker? What sectors are they in? What towns or locations? Who influences their decisions? Who is the decision maker? Once you know who you need to reach and influence, think about what they currently think about you and what you want them to think. You will probably want them to understand what makes your business special. So get clear about that in your own mind and make these your key messages.
PR and the Media
Once you know who you need to reach, find out who they get their information from. Where do they hang out and what media do they use? Do they read trade magazines, do they rely on the local press, are ezines their preferred medium, do they follow certain industry blogs? Are they using social media? Once you know which media channels are important to them, get to know it and think about where your business might fit in. See how other companies are being included in that media. Spot journalists who talk about your kind of business or write on the topics that are relevant to you. Get to know their style, interests and preferences.
Most business have lots of news and content that they can communicate and convert into PR messages but fail to spot the nuggets that are already there inside their organisation. If you have a team then brainstorm with your team for all possible new angles… Here is an indicative list of some ideas of what they could cover:
- New product or service
- Company development
- Expansion plans
- New appointment stories
- Winning of an award
- Successful raising of funds for a charity
- Special anniversary
- Securing major order
- Case studies with an interesting news angle
- Exhibitions and trade shows
- Event, seminars, talks
- Market predictions
It is a good idea to set a schedule and, for example, aim to put out a news story every month. Make sure that your news passes the ‘so what’ test. Don’t waste your time on news that isn’t going to be of interest to your reader, listener or viewer, the media certainly won’t care for it either! Don’t just think of news — if your business has industry experts, use them in your PR. Think about the issues or topics they could comment on and float these past your media. (Always thinking about the ‘so what’ rule before you do!)
PR and Journalists
Journalists are hungry for news so don’t just email out your news releases — follow up with key journalists who write about your market. If you have a local angle, then even better. Also try to create opportunities to get to know your media better — connect on LinkedIn, follow them on twitter and interact with them on Facebook, arrange to meet them at exhibitions, networking events and trade shows.
Give PR a go
The final piece of advice – get going. In my experience the majority of companies who say that PR doesn’t work for them. Have you tried PR with a local flavour. Have you got any good examples or case studies of what has worked for you? If you have, then let us know.
We’d love to hear from you.