Implementing PR for small businesses; how is it possible? Owning and operating small businesses is no small task. Ask any entrepreneur that started from the bottom to see how much mental energy and financial support they’ve had to use in order to cultivate their newly-grown enterprise. When such assets are in short supply, a successful marketing plan is essential to business owners to ensure they are obtaining the most efficient plan for limited budgets, as well as time.
PR (public relations) can potentially be one of the most useful ways to build integrity for a small business owner, and spread the word about their business in a frugal manner. Implementing PR for small businesses can generate leads and additional revenue in a significant manner. After all, a study conducted by MarketShare found that word-of-mouth from reliable customers and/or businesses increased marketing effectiveness up to 54%. For small business owners, spreading the word about their business couldn’t be more important.
How Does PR Fit Into Small Businesses?
Small businesses need PR firstly, because it usually comes at no cost, a huge benefit to small business owners that need to save as much money as possible for their budget. One can spend no money whatsoever, but still gain exposure and marketing value. As portrayed by the previous MarketShare study, it is an even bigger bonus to have your own satisfied customers give potential customers positive feedback, considered by consumers to be one of the most dependable sources of a small business’s merit. However, if one chooses to pursue this route, they should also be careful to note that all customers need to be satisfied fully, otherwise the word-of-mouth method can backfire and displeased consumers will spread negative feedback and turn away potential customers, rather than attracting them.
How Can A Small Business Use PR to Build Brand Awareness?
For business owners that have products that need promotion, PR can be an endlessly useful resource. An owner can start out locally by contacting local publications (newspapers, magazines, etc) and TV shows that can potentially showcase their products in features such as “buy local” sections. This can also be expanded outward into online journals, business reviews, newspapers, etc.
Reaching out to local TV channels could also be productive in implementing PR for small businesses. Owners just need to ask directors to keep them in mind for any local business segments they may perform, and make sure to leave their contact information in case any future business opportunities come up. It would be beneficial for any business owners pursuing this route to do research on the TV station and what kinds of segments they do, as well as arrive and speak professionally with the directors so they will be remembered and taken seriously. If these owners do not hear back from the directors, it could also be a good idea to follow up with directors via email or telephone, as these TV channels may get multitudes of requests from businesses on a weekly basis, and this will help the small business owner to stand out.
Can Small Business Owners Get Their News Published with Journalists?
Absolutely. As a matter of fact, contacting journalists for business news updates is as easy as using organizations such as HARO (Help A Reporter Out), where news is updates three times a day and small business owners can gauge from journalists what kind of news content is needed in what areas, and gives one a chance to be quoted directly and linked back to the business. Getting featured will bring in more leads and revenue, especially if these come from reputable news sources that are more trusted by the general public. Many times, there are journalists through HARO seeking products to be featured during the holiday season. This is the best time of the year to introduce products to potential customers, as well as share any information about the product and how it can benefit consumers.
Small business owners can also get published by writing a synopsis of their news and sharing it directly with the local newspaper and TV news stations. Owners can share their general contact information, as well as any news they have about their business, to give to producers and editors for consideration. Individual reporters can also be contacted, but only if the news is very relevant to the types of stories they typically cover. Otherwise, it is a waste of both individuals’ time.
Social media can also be a caveat to finding journalists through the internet and implementing PR for small businesses. Many journalists go online, mostly in the form of social media, to build rapport and relations with their sources. Small business owners can build these kinds of relations through exchanges via social media, be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. If found in the right niche, these journalists could become invaluable to small business owners.
There are, however, some general guidelines that small business owners are advised to follow when contacting journalists. The first is to be concise, preferably using only a few sentences to describe the business and the news update. There is no need to give journalists the life story of the business, just to make sure their attention is grabbed. Secondly, business owners should not be surprised if any journalists they email to not reply. Several journalists receive thousands of emails a week. While it’s not a bad idea to follow up a few times to show that one does care about getting covered, following up more than an acceptable amount of times could destroy rapport with them and prevent possible future interactions. And lastly, it is impertinent to include one’s credentials unless an exceedingly renown reputation has been established before (which will not be the case for 99% of small business owners). There is no need to send a novel on one’s autobiography, just a simple footnote trailing the email will suffice.
While implementing PR for small businesses can be daunting and frustrating at times, it is still very possible to achieve for small business owners. Building rapport and positive relations with the press, both locally and globally, can take a substantial amount of time for even the most experienced entrepreneur. Committing at least an hour or two per week to reaching out to news sources is a must, if not the bare minimum, for the aspiring small business owner. However, with an excellent product or service, customer satisfaction, and exposure to news sources, anyone can achieve consistent references across multiple news platforms for PR.
Want more tips on implementing PR for small businesses? Check out our blog post PR For Beginners!