If you have a small business, it’s time to start thinking about PR. PR, or public relations, is a key part of any marketing process, and often far more cost-effective than traditional advertising. However, many small businesses are still confused about what exactly PR is and why they need it.
We have found that any business can benefit from a good PR push – but many small companies don’t know how to make that happen. Below are our top tips:
Public relations and advertising are not the same thing.
Paid advertisements are the way a company represents itself. A PR campaign, on the other hand, creates unpaid, organic contact between a business and its audience to build brand awareness.
PR is about third-party credibility. This person is an unbiased person genuinely saying, ‘I love this brand and/or pruduct and here are the reasons why.
A sponsored post on social media, for example, is advertising. But when a company sends a blogger a product to use, and the blogger genuinely likes it and posts about it, that is PR. Being quoted as a source in a newspaper, or being featured in a magazine are other common forms of PR. Sending press releases regarding company announcements to news outlets also counts.
Whether that’s through traditional media or online media, PR means getting your name out there and building your business’s image.
Good PR helps you define your brand.
One of the most important things about starting a campaign is that having PR helps define the message of your company. The first question we ask is, ‘Why are you doing what you’re doing? Why do people care?’ … It helps fine-tune the message and keep it consistent.”
Without consistency, customers won’t understand or trust what your brand represents. A strong PR campaign creates a recognizable message across multiple media platforms. This is especially important for small businesses, which lack the name recognition of larger companies and corporations.
PR also helps to keep your business messaging consistent.
Good PR takes time.
Some businesses think that results are going to be immediate, but good PR takes time … You need to give it at least three to six months to see the full benefit.
When that benefit comes, it’s not always in the form of instant sales. Just because your company gets featured in a big newspaper doesn’t mean you’ll instantly see a jump in sales. There are two types of PR. One type increases sales; the other builds credibility. It looks good and makes you look more reliable.
Creating credibility for your company is a long-term investment that builds brand recognition and creates trust. Eventually, it will pay off in increased sales and the long life of your company.
You might need to wait a while before you start a PR campaign.
One mistake that we see small businesses make is starting a big PR push before they are ready for the attention.
Coverage in a national media outlet, for example, can produce high demand for products. If you aren’t able to meet that demand, you may find yourself losing credibility or disappointing customers.
You have to be ready for PR coverage.
You don’t need a large budget for good PR.
Large businesses often employ a dedicated PR team or hire a PR agency to create an extended campaign. But small businesses can create effective PR even without a large budget.
If you decide to hire a PR consultant or agency to work within your budget, even if that just means you spend a few hours working together to create a plan that you will implement on your own, it can be of huge benefit.
Media outlets love small businesses.
Small businesses often wonder if media outlets will be interested in covering them or mentioning their products when big brands are much better known. Many times, though, that lack of previous exposure works in their favor.
We have worked with large companies and also small start-ups. Media outlets often find small business more interesting and can be big fans of the ‘uniquenesses.’ For bigger clients, PR is more a matter of managing the press they’re already getting. Small businesses, by contrast, don’t already have a narrative or perception attached to their brand, which gives media outlets and influencers more of a story to work with.
It’s can also be a lot more fun to help create that image and share it.
PR depends on relationships.
Whether you’re working with a firm or handling your PR on your own, focus your efforts on people who are already influencing your target customer.
PR is figuring out ways to build relationships, whether it’s with a reporter or social media influencer. Look for people who have a lot of clout and build that relationship. Help them to understand your message and how their followers can relate to you.
Successful PR builds trust between your company and its customers. Building positive relationships with the right media outlets is essential to creating that trust. If that relationship isn’t already there, you won’t reach the right audience, no matter how many places feature you.
If you want a marketing partner that is passionate about helping you grow your business then get in touch. It’s what we’re best at.