Thinking about doing your own small business PR? Read this.
If you’re yet to do any PR (public relations) for your small business, you may be wondering what it’s all about and how it can help your business. Here are seven things you should know about PR for small businesses. And if you want to know exactly what public relations is before you start doing your own small business PR, read our definitive guide to what is PR.
1: PR for your business should be about more than just media coverage
Getting media coverage is just one PR tactic. Yes, it can be great to get journalists to talk about your business in their newspapers, magazines or websites, or get featured on TV or radio. But it’s not the only way to promote your business, engage with your target audience or manage your reputation. The media landscape is changing rapidly. Traditional media outlets are closing and/or evolving. Your own channels – such as blogs, social media and video streaming services – are also important. As are other blogs, forums and third party platforms. If you want to know more about media coverage here’s some further reading:
- How to get your business featured in the media
- What is a press release and how to write a press release
2: PR isn’t a quick fix for your small business
PR should be seen as a long-term game. By starting with a strategy, you can plan out what sort of activity you should do over the course of the next few months or year to help you deliver your key messages to your target audiences. PR is all about building trust over time and becoming known for all the right things. A little bit of PR activity each month will put you in a strong position for growth and building your small business.
3: These days, PR is much more integrated
We’ve already mentioned that PR is about more than just getting media coverage. A modern way of looking at PR is the PESO model, which stands for Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned.
- Paid: You can boost your content and messages, as well as encourage call to actions through paid activity. This could include online advertising, pay per click (PPC) and sponsored social media posts.
- Earned: This is what small businesses may think of as more ‘traditional’ PR activity. It covers things like media relations, blogger outreach, investor relations and influencer marketing.
- Shared: How can you encourage stakeholders, customers, employees, fans and followers to share your content online? As well as thinking about platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, also think about messaging services such as Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and email.
- Owned: Sometimes referred to as content marketing, this covers all the content you can distribute on your own channels, such as your blog, social media, podcasts, video channels and email marketing.
4: All PR is digital these days – or is it?
You might hear people talk about ‘digital PR’ over ‘traditional PR’. Digital PR typically refers to PR activity that takes place online – for example, achieving media coverage in online newspapers and magazines, or content that is shared on social media.
The term also sometimes refers to using PR and media relations to not only secure online media coverage, but to build links back to your small business website too. If you can get other websites to link back to your website, it can help improve your SEO. This stands for search engine optimisation, which is related to where your website appears on search engines such as Google when people search for particular words or phrases. Find out why your small business needs a website here.
But while online and digital activity is really important, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of offline activity. Whether that’s creating your own print magazine or organising face-to-face events, there are all kinds of different PR tactics you can try for your small business or startup that doesn’t use online means.
If you do carry out offline activity – such as putting on events – you can try to amplify the results by creating content to share online and/or encouraging guests to share their experiences on social media. We talk about how to maximise the results of face-to-face events in the full PR Unlocked online training and coaching course.
Want a competitive advantage?
The full PR Unlocked training course is designed for small businesses and startups to help them get ahead in business using PR strategy and tactics. A comprehensive online training course, it covers everything you need to know about PR to help you grow your business.
5: Small businesses don’t need huge budgets in the early days
Hiring a dedicated PR agency or PR consultant can help to get great results for businesses. They will help to create a targeted strategy, will understand how to get your name out there and manage everything from your day-to-day press office to integrated, creative PR campaigns. But, realistically you need a budget of at least a few thousands pounds to work with PR agencies or consultants.
The good news is, if you’re a small business you don’t necessarily need huge budgets in the early days. With some guidance, support and insider knowledge, there’s no reason why you can’t carry out your own PR as a small business and see results. Startups and SMEs who sign up to the PR Unlocked online training and coaching platform get access to a whole range of PR training modules, including strategy, news stories, features, comments, interviews, product placement, awards, events, influencer marketing, and more. They also get access to a growing library of meet the expert videos, group coaching calls and a private online group to share advice and successes.
6: It’s never too early (or late) to start your own PR
Startups or small businesses that have only recently launched may think it’s too soon to start their own PR. But it’s not. If you begin thinking about your PR before you even go to market, then you’ll start to lay the foundations to help drive your business forward. Even in the early days of a small business, you’ll have lots to talk about and share with your target audiences. And with so many businesses failing within the first three years, arguably you need to start your PR as soon as possible to give you the best chance of surviving (and thriving!).
But saying that, if your small business is already a few years old – or even decades old – don’t worry, it’s not too late to start your PR. Whatever stage of your business journey you’re at, you can start or increase your PR activity. And even if you do begin your PR as soon as you launch, you’ll need to continually monitor, evaluate and update your PR strategy and activity to make sure it’s in line with your evolving business needs and objectives.
7: PR opens doors – but you need to act
One of the key benefits of PR is that it helps to build relationships and open doors. This can be really powerful for small businesses or startups as it can help you develop new partnerships, find new customers or clients, attract new employees, and even put you in front of investors. But as a small business you need to understand how to identify and take advantage of these sorts of opportunities, as well as how to build relationships through networking (both on and offline).
This is the part of PR that many businesses – even large, established organisations – fail to do. Yet it’s one of the main points of doing PR – to establish relationships with key stakeholders and target audiences. To give you an advantage over other businesses doing PR, there’s an opportunity guide in the PR Unlocked training course. Find out more about the PR Unlocked training course.
Ready to see what PR can do for your small business?
PR Unlocked is the ultimate PR training course to support you through your business journey and help you create new and exciting business opportunities.
Are you ready to start your own PR for your small business?
Great! There are lots of useful guides and resources on the PR Unlocked website to help you. These include:
- Free training courses, including how to use Twitter for PR and media relations
- Free PR resources, including a business awards calendar
- A PR and marketing blog, which also covers topics such as business and finance, mindset and motivation
- The Dreamers & Doers podcast, which covers inspiring business stories, as well as PR and marketing advice
- The full PR Unlocked training course, which gives an indepth look at how to do PR for your small business or startup. With lessons across several modules, you’ll learn everything from how to develop your own PR strategy through to carrying out different PR tactics. You’ll also find out how to measure and evaluate the success of your small business PR, and how to maximise results and opportunities.
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