How to PR your small business - 8 top tips
Competition is fierce in the small business world. We may be over the worst of the post-2008 meltdown but there are still a finite number of consumer hearts, minds and pounds out there to fight for. You might have the best idea, product or service but if no one knows about it you’ll never be successful. This is where PR comes in.
Public relations is all about communicating with the public. Good PR communicates your company and brand values as well as what you sell to create a positive image in the eye of potential customers. Unlike ads which are viewed and frequently discarded by customers as a direct sell, some of the best PR comes via a third party like a magazine or newspaper article. This can build greater credibility in the eyes of potential customers as it comes from a trusted source.
The best PR strategies will target the kind of people who you think are your ideal customers with the right language and messaging.
Here are 8 top tips for getting started.
- Send out a press release:
This will help to tell journalists what your business is all about. Try to find an interesting angle or lead with something unusual that the journalist can build an interesting story around. A good hi-res photo (300dpi) will give you a much better chance of being covered. Start with a call to the newsdesk and introduce yourself. It’s important to consider carefully what you’re announcing. The launch of your website is unlikely to get any coverage, but a win at a national competition may. It’s not easy but will only cost you the time you put into it.
- Stick it on your site:
It will help your PR efforts to put a news / media section on your site where journalists – and members of the public – can go for info on the company, previous press releases and links to any previous coverage.
- Time to get social savvy:
Set up social accounts on the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn etc. Ensure you put in a good description of what you do, with links to your website. Hashtags can help publicise your brand and get consumers involved in advocacy. But remember content needs to be regularly updated and relevant – bear in mind your target audience at all times.
- Break out the business cards:
It might be a pretty old fashioned concept, but networking is still a decent way to get the word out about your business to the people that matter. Research which events to go to and have your elevator pitch ready. And some professional looking business cards.
- Incentivise customers:
Get that word of mouth going by offering customers discounts and special promotions for reviewing your products and services. You can do this particularly effectively through digital channels including social media.
- Get the bath of baked beans ready:
Charity work might not get you a huge amount of press coverage but it’ll help spread the word that you care about the local community. It doesn’t need to involve large cash donations either – sponsored events will do just as well.
- And the winner is:
Enter awards. It takes time to research which ones are right for your business, but it can reap great publicity and highlight your brand as best in class.
- Take a bow:
Public speaking engagements can be a tough area to break into until you or your business are well known. However, once you’re established the invites can really snowball. An easier way to get started could be to let local journalists know who you are and what you can talk about as a subject matter expert. They’ll come back to you if you’re prompt, media savvy and give good, knowledgeable quotes.
As a Worldpay customer you could make the headlines with a free press release distributed to over 1000 journalists through PR Newswire, just one of the great offers available via Worldpay Benefits Club.