Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. According to statistics, small businesses account for more than half of all private sector jobs in the United States. They also contribute more than $2 trillion dollars to the economy every year. Clearly, small businesses are a vitally important part of our society and our economy.
Despite their importance, however, small businesses often have a difficult time getting started and getting established. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of resources available to them. Small businesses simply don't have the same kind of access to capital that larger businesses do. This puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to competing in today's marketplace.
Another challenge small businesses face is the lack of awareness among the general public. Because they are not as well known as larger businesses, it can be difficult for them to get their name out there and attract customers.
One way to help overcome these challenges is to use public relations to raise awareness of your small business. Public relation is a process of creating and maintaining a positive image for your business. It involves developing relationships with the media and with other influential people and organizations. By doing this, you can get your business's name out there and start to build a reputation for being a quality company that people can trust.
There are a number of different ways to use public relations to raise awareness of your small business.
Clear The Confusion Between PR And Marketing
In the business world, there is a lot of confusion about the roles of public relations (PR) and marketing. Some people use the terms interchangeably, while others see them as completely different functions. In reality, PR and marketing are two very different disciplines, with different goals and objectives.
PR is all about building relationships with key stakeholders, such as customers, shareholders, the media, and government officials. It is about creating a positive image for the company and its products or services. PR professionals use a variety of tactics to achieve this goal, such as publicity stunts, press releases, and media appearances.
Marketing, on the other hand, is all about generating sales and revenue. It is focused on getting people to buy products or services. Marketing professionals use a variety of techniques to achieve this goal, such as advertising, PR campaigns, and website design.
While PR and marketing share some common goals, they are ultimately two very different disciplines. PR is concerned with developing and maintaining a positive image for the company, while marketing is concerned with generating sales and revenue.
When Do Small Businesses Need Public Relations?
Small businesses often do not have the same resources as larger businesses to dedicate to public relations. However, there are a few key times when small businesses should consider hiring a public relations firm or DIY with dedication:
When the business is expanding and needs to promote its new products or services
When the business is facing negative publicity and needs to rebuild its reputation
When the business wants to increase its visibility in the community or among potential customers
Now, let's move to the ultimate list of PR Ideas for Small Businesses.
1. Know, Understand And Define Your Audience
PR is an essential tool for small businesses. By knowing your audience, you can better target your communications and create messaging that resonates with your customers.
Some key considerations when profiling your audience include their demographics (age, gender, income, location), psychographics (lifestyle, values), and behavioral characteristics (purchasing habits, media consumption).
Once you have a good understanding of your target audience, you can tailor your communications to appeal to them. This includes developing the right tone, using the right channels, and delivering the right message. Design your message to resonate with your target audience, and be sure to communicate regularly with them through the media channels they use most.
Small businesses that ignore their audience do so at their own peril – they are likely to miss out on key opportunities to reach and connect with potential customers.
2. Craft, Own, And Spread Your Story
When it comes to public relations, small businesses often have an advantage. They can be more nimble and responsive than their larger counterparts, and they can create a more personal connection with their customers and clients. This can be a powerful tool for building relationships and promoting your business.
One of the most important things small businesses can do when it comes to PR is to craft a story. This story should be about who you are, what you do, and why you do it. It should be something that connects with your customers on a personal level, and it should be authentic.
There are a few things you can do to make your story more compelling:
Make it personal. People are more likely to connect with a story if they can relate to it. Make sure your story is relatable and easy to understand.
Make it relevant. Your story should be relevant to your target audience, and it should answer the question, "Why should I care?"
Make it interesting. Your story should be engaging and hold the reader's attention from beginning to end.
Make it credible. The credibility of your story will depend on the credibility of your source. Make sure you have a solid foundation for your story before you begin sharing it with the world.
The story doesn't have to be complicated or flashy – in fact, it's often better if it's not. Just tell the truth about your business, and let your customers know what makes you special. If you can do that, you'll be well on your way to successful PR.
3. Promote Your Expertise (And That Of Others In Your Business)
Public relations (PR) is the process of managing the spread of information between a company and the public. It is a strategic communication process that aims to build positive relationships between a company and its public. PR can be used to promote a company's expertise in a particular field or to promote the expertise of others in your business.
There are a number of ways you can promote your expertise (and that of others in your business) through PR. Some of the most effective methods include:
Writing articles and blog posts about your area of expertise.
Giving talks and presentations about your area of expertise.
Contributing to industry publications and websites.
Participating in online and offline forums and discussions relating to your area of expertise.
Issuing press releases about new developments or insights related to your area of expertise.
4. Consider HARO And PRWeb As Your Friend
Both services have a database of reporters who are looking for sources for their stories. Businesses can submit a query specifying what they do and what type of story they would like to be featured in.
HARO will then send alerts twice a day with a list of reporters looking for sources, along with their contact information. PRWeb allows businesses to search for reporters by topic or publication.
Businesses can then pitch the reporter their story, and if the reporter is interested, they will contact the business for more information.
5. Spread Your Roots In Media
There are a few key things small businesses can do in order to form relationships with the media.
a) Establish Yourself As A Credible Source Of Information
When you reach out to reporters, be sure to have relevant and timely information to share. Make sure your website and social media platforms are up-to-date and well-designed and be prepared to answer questions about your business.
b) Build Relationships With Reporters
Get to know the reporters who cover your industry, and offer them exclusive stories or insights. When you pitch a story, make sure to personalize it and explain why the reporter should care.
c) Be Responsive
When reporters reach out to you for comment or information, respond quickly and courteously. If there is a delay, let them know as soon as possible. Reporters are busy people, so they will appreciate your promptness.
d) Follow-Up After Interviews
Thank reporters for their time, and provide them with any additional information they may have requested. If you ended up quoted in their article, send them a link so they can include it in their story.
e) Establish A Regular Routine Of Outreach
Once you've gotten to know your local media, you need to establish a regular routine of outreach. This could mean sending press releases on a monthly or quarterly basis, or it might involve calling reporters every time you have something newsworthy to share.
Whatever approach you choose, be sure to be consistent so that journalists come to see you as a reliable source of information.
d) Offer Story Ideas
One way to form relationships with journalists is to offer story ideas. This can be as simple as sending them a list of potential stories every week or suggesting angles for upcoming pieces.
By doing this, you're not only providing them with valuable content, but you're also demonstrating that you're keeping tabs on what's happening in your industry.
f) Connect With Them On Social Media
Another great way to form relationships with journalists is by connecting with them on social media. Platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn provide an easy way to keep up with their latest work and even send them direct messages if you have a question or want to suggest a story idea.
6. Sponsorships, Community Engagements, And More
Sponsorships and community engagements are great ways to build relationships with your community and create goodwill. They can also help promote your business and generate publicity. Here are a few tips for sponsorship and community engagement.
Choose the right sponsorship or engagement opportunity. Make sure the opportunity is relevant to your business and that you have the resources to support it.
Don't just give money. Sponsorship and community engagement can take many forms, such as donating products or services, volunteering time or expertise, or providing financial support.
Get creative. Come up with a unique campaign or event that will catch people's attention and set you apart from the competition.
Promote, promote, promote! Make sure everyone in your company knows about the sponsorship or engagement and how they can help promote it. Use social media, email, print ads, and whatever else you have at your disposal to get the word out.
Follow up. Thank everyone who helps promote your sponsorship or engagement, and make sure to report back on the results. Keep track of how many people were reached, what kind of feedback you received, and any resulting sales or leads.
7. Be Prepared With Your Media Kits
A media kit is a compilation of information designed to help promote a company or product. The kit can be used to provide journalists with details about the company, as well as statistics and facts about the product. It can also include high-resolution images and videos.
There are a number of ways to create a media kit. Some companies choose to create a physical kit that can be sent to journalists, while others opt to create a digital kit that can be accessed online.
If you are creating a physical media kit, be sure to include the following:
A cover letter from the CEO or marketing director
Company history and overview
Details about the product or service
Product photos and videos
Media contact information
If you are creating a digital media kit, you will need to include the same information, plus the following:
PDF or Word document format
Web-friendly images and videos
Links to your website and social media pages
Download the link for journalists
Once you have created your media kit, you will need to store it in the cloud. This will ensure that journalists who are interested in writing about your company or product can easily access it. There are a number of cloud storage services available, such as Dropbox or Google Drive, that allows you to share files with others.
8. Make Use Of Proper Press Releases
One great way to get the word out about your small business is by issuing press releases. Press releases can help you build buzz, attract attention from the media, and generate leads.
When writing a press release, be sure to include all the relevant information, such as who you are, what you do, who your target market is, and how your product or service differs from the competition. You should also include quotes from customers or other industry experts to lend credibility to your story.
Finally, make sure to send your press release to the right people. You can find contact information for reporters and editors at various publications on their websites. Or, you can use a service like Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to connect with reporters looking for sources for their stories.
9. Take PR seriously
Developing a PR plan for your business can be challenging, but it is important to consider all the different ways you can reach your target audience. The best way to start is by thinking about the types of publicity you want to achieve. Do you want to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, or sell more products or services?
Once you have a goal in mind, you can start developing specific tactics that will help you achieve it. For example, if you want to increase brand awareness, you might consider issuing a press release about a new product or service. If you want to generate website traffic, you could launch a social media campaign that encourages people to visit your site.
Keep in mind that timing is key when it comes to publicity. You need to consider when events or holidays are taking place that could impact your industry. For example, if you own a restaurant, you would want to promote your business during National Restaurant Week. Or if you’re a doctor, you might want to offer advice about the flu outbreak in town.
At the same time, be mindful of what’s happening outside your business and when not to seek publicity. If a major news story is breaking or something else is consuming the attention of the media, hold off on your news until things quiet down.
10. Use Google Alerts
Setting up a Google Alert is one of the simplest and most effective ways to help your small business keep track of online mentions. You can create alerts for your company name, product name, and even specific keywords and phrases.
Once you have set up your alerts, you can configure how often you’d like to receive notifications. You can receive emails, RSS feeds, or even text messages. This way, you’ll be sure to stay on top of what people are saying about your business online.
Set up a Google Alert for your company name and watch for any new mentions online.
If you see a positive article about your company, reach out to the journalist who wrote it and thank them for their coverage.
If you see a negative article about your company, reach out to the journalist who wrote it and offer to provide a response or comment.
Monitor your Google Alerts on a regular basis and look for opportunities to pitch stories to journalists.
Another great way to use Google Alerts for PR is to track industry keywords and trends. By tracking relevant keywords, you can stay informed about the latest news and developments in your industry. This can help you stay ahead of the curve and come up with new ideas for content or marketing campaigns.
11. Keep An Eye On Your Competitor's PR
There are a number of ways that small businesses can do competitor research in terms of PR. One way is to look at the websites of your competitors.
What kind of information do they include on their websites? What kind of tone do they use in their marketing materials? Another way to do competitor research is to look at the social media profiles of your competitors. What kind of content are they sharing? How often are they posting?
You can also look at the press releases that your competitors have issued. What kind of news have they been announcing? What kind of tone do they use in their press releases? Finally, you can talk to your customers and ask them what they think of your competitors. What do they like about them? What don't they like? Why did they choose your competitor's product over yours?
Armed with this information, you can start making strategic decisions about how to compete with your rivals.
12. Be Sincere With Your Content
People are tired of advertising. They're bombarded with it from all angles, and it's become increasingly difficult to trust what companies say in their marketing. So how can your small business produce PR that will be effective?
Simply put, create content that people will want to read. Make it interesting, informative, and trustworthy. Don't try to sell them anything; let them come to their own conclusions. Show them what your company is about, what you stand for, and what makes you different. Give them a reason to care.
When you produce high-quality content that people want to read, it will spread naturally online. People will share it on social media, bookmark it, and come back to it time and again. And that's when you'll start to see real results from your PR efforts.
Rather than approaching PR as a way to skew people’s opinions with favorable information about your company, as is common with traditional advertising, come at things with an attitude of sincerity. Share the things you’re actually proud of, the things you’re actually hopeful about. Ask for help. Steering away from the appearance of infallibility and toward the reality of shared humanity will probably help more than it hurts with today’s ad-weary audiences.
13. Show Your Customers That You Care
When customers feel like they are being taken care of, they are more likely to talk positively about the business to their friends and family. This can result in more business for the company and more word-of-mouth advertising.
Another reason it is important for businesses to show they care is that it can help to keep customers loyal. If customers feel like they are being valued by the company, they are less likely to shop around or switch to a competitor. This can be especially important for small businesses, as they often do not have the same resources as larger companies to attract new customers.
Finally, showing customers that you care can help build trust between the company and its customers. When customers trust a business, they are more likely to be willing to purchase products or services from them in the future. This can be especially helpful for small businesses that may not have a large advertising budget.
You can try the following ways to show customers that you care:
Sending Thank You Notes: Thank your customers for their business by sending them a personalized thank you note. This small gesture will show them that you appreciate their patronage.
Loyalty Program or Punch Card for Frequent Customers: Reward your customers for their loyalty by offering them a loyalty program or punch card. This incentive will encourage them to keep coming back to your business.
Small Things for Customers: Sometimes, doing something small for a customer can make a big impact. Offer your customers special discounts, complimentary items, or unique services to show them how much you appreciate their business.
The PR activities discussed in this article can help small businesses to raise their profile and achieve their marketing goals. By smartly utilizing PR techniques, small businesses can level the playing field and compete with larger companies for media attention, customers, and partners.
If you are struggling or missing out on building a promising PR for your small business, RedFork can help you create a positive image of your brand that will lead to increased sales and growth.