9 simple tips to grow your business via PR in one minute, one hour or one day
One of the most frequently overlooked tools by small businesses wanting to grow is public relations (PR). Unlike advertising, PR is a more subtle way of reaching your target audience and building your brand. Done well, it can be an extremely cost effective way of driving awareness of your brand and increasing sales. You can put these simple ideas into practice in just one minute, one hour or one day.
Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are a great way to directly engage with existing and prospective customers. Social media can be a free and easy way to promote your business, and most importantly it only takes a minute of your time to reach potentially hundreds of people.
Revamp your profile and cover images: update any profile pictures on your firm’s social accounts to a seasonal image. This could be a photo of your restaurant or bar after a Valentine’s Day refurb or an image of festive hampers you’re promoting in the run-up to Christmas. Always remember to update these images once the event is over.
Countdown to the big day: Take lots of photos of your business events, products or promotions so you can use these for seasonal countdowns to a big day, such as Valentine’s Day or Christmas. If using a smart phone, make sure you take photos in landscape format (holding your phone horizontally) so you can use them on social media.
Competition time: consider running a social media competition to coincide with a seasonal event. As well as an easy way to engage and excite your customers, a competition also provides you with valuable and relevant content to publish on your channels. You can then use the stories you receive to post a series of posts in the run up to the big day.
With just a little bit of additional time, there are existing events, sections of media or channels that you can be making the most of to promote your business at important times of the year.
Local events: get involved in major local events in your area. For example, you could host a stall at a local fete or fireworks display or donate a raffle prize. Make sure you provide a high resolution copy of your brand logo to the organisers of the event so they can feature your business on promotional posters or websites.
Listings: Spend some time researching your local media outlets and identifying which have listings sections. Identify any local blogs which also cover future events and submit your events to these too. Some local websites or blogs may have newsletters which they send to subscribers.
Email marketing: If you already have an email marketing template and a customer list, consider using the stories you might have collected through social media-based competitions or photos you have been posting as part of a customer email. There are regulations that apply to email marketing so make sure you’re aware of and following these, some examples can be found here.
Research by Nielsen into the most trusted advertising formats among UK consumers found that consumers are more likely to trust what’s reported by a third-party media outlet than, say, a direct ad. Getting in the media can seem daunting when you consider that there are lots of other local businesses trying to do the same thing but there are simple ways you can make yourself stand out.
Capturing photos: Invite people of local interest to your business to get the media’s attention, such as a hosting a local celebrity or sporting team for a special meal at your restaurant. Send a hi-res photo of the occasion with the brief details to include in the caption and email it to the picture desk of your local paper.
Seasonal stunts: How about making the town’s biggest Easter egg? Or attempting to break a record? You can then invite a local newspaper to attend and take a photo. For media who weren’t able to attend, you can distribute a press release and images of the event to ensure you get as much publicity as possible from the event.
Special events: Host a special event ahead of a major holiday or seasonal date, and invite a journalist or blogger down to cover it. This event could be something you can host yourself or you could partner with other local businesses. For example if you are a café hosting a special afternoon tea for mother’s day, you could partner with a local florist to host a flower-arranging class the week before.
Good PR can help small businesses punch well above their weight, creating awareness of your brand and products that would be costly to do via advertising or other marketing channels. Worldpay Benefits Club gives you access to partners who can offer PR, marketing and digital support to help your business stand out.