Is small business PR worth doing?
Small business PR can be hugely valuable, but like all the best things in life – good things come to those who wait.
Generally, many start-ups and small businesses shun PR as a marketing option for a variety of reasons.
The biggest one is probably a lack of understanding of what PR is and what PR can do for their business and also some business owners simply don’t have the time to properly pursue their own small business PR campaign or fear the costs of hiring an agency.
For those who don’t really get it – possibly the best definition of what PR is comes from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.
“Public Relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.
In other words, if your business reputation is good and well-known it will lead to success, but if your reputation is not so good, it could potentially lead to business failure.
With that cleared up, comes a bigger issue – the one of patience.
Small business PR can often be forgotten about in the media mix because it is often seen as much more complex than advertising and a little harder to control.
However, if you put some thought into the way you approach PR and have an interesting story to tell then you’re onto something.
Coverage in the press will raise awareness of your business. After all, a potential customer reading an article about your business in a well-regarded publication means you are, in effect being endorsed by a powerful third party.
And, that’s well, gold dust!
It is worth far more than any advertisement, where you are controlling your message and banging on about how great you are. Also, when you read something online or in hard copy via magazines and newspapers, think for a minute about what you are doing? Are you reading the stories, otherwise known as editorial, or are you looking for adverts?
The answer is obvious. It’s the stories we are mostly interested in and the adverts are just the annoying door to door salesmen interrupting you whilst you are watching your box set of Breaking Bad.
To start-ups, it’s tempting to just blast out press releases to every publication going with a scattergun approach.
However, we at PressPlugs would strongly advise that you take some time to think about what you are writing about – is the story strong enough to gain publicity? What’s the angle that will get a reporter interested? Given that there are gazillions of business stories every year, ranging from large corporates launching new products to exciting young entrepreneurs that have broken the mould, a press release regarding the launch of your website is unlikely to capture the attention of a journalist, so really put some thought into it and be selective – only target those publications that are relevant to your business. For example, if you’re a widget manufacturer don’t chuck out press releases everywhere – really think about what your potential customers will be reading and pitch to those journalist and publications.
So, now that’s clear, how do you make your story newsworthy? How do you capture people’s attention? Well, you could think about what’s trending in the press and how you can link your business to that angle or if you think there is something genuinely unique about your business then start shouting about it. Also, offer yourself to journalists for comments, opinions, and quotes and really start to develop that relationship, so they think of you in the future.
Once you have your angle, then you can start using PR techniques. Start with some planning around your story, send out your release or pitch it to a journalist. When you have a finished piece of content, share it on your social media accounts.
And, if you’re still struggling with the whole PR concept, then consider chatting to a PR agency but remember you’ll need to stretch your budget.
However, if you are confident in your business idea and you’re prepared to put the work in then free PR is there for you.
Focus hard on producing concise and interesting press releases and content and make direct contact with journalists. Also, partner with selected complementary businesses – you could help each other out by cross-promoting and share the costs.
In this social media age, journalists are there ready to be contacted. They are looking for stories from you. So, in a nutshell, Small business PR has never been more accessible. It’s too good an opportunity to turn down!