How public relations works for small and midsize businesses.
Let’s talk about how public relations works for small and midsize business. You may be familiar with some of the more traditional elements of PR such as TV interviews, press releases and press conferences. While traditional elements are still relevant, social and digital media now play a bigger role in a solid PR strategy. As a business owner, you can use traditional and digital PR strategies to strengthen your credibility. Most new start-ups lack authority in the marketplace because they lack brand awareness. PR is the best way to overcome this hurtle. Before you dump your entire marketing budget on paid advertising, take some time to learn what a good public relations campaign can do for your business.
Builds Your Story
Online consumers can easily detect when something is disingenuous or unnatural. There is nothing they dislike more than inauthentic brands. Sharing your story helps your customers get to know your business better. As a result, you build trust. Storytelling is one of the most powerful techniques we have at our disposal to communicate and motivate. As a business owner, your story usually starts with your personal brand biography. A bio gives your audience a preview of who you are and what your business offers. After you complete your backstory and bio you have a tool to interweave engaging, newsworthy stories about your business throughout the year.
PR Tip: Injecting your personal experience and life story into the brand makes it more relatable to people. Think about why you started your business. List out all the things that inspired you to do it and all the things that almost held you back. Keep going along those lines and you are well on your way to writing the first part of your amazing story.
“A great story is true. Not necessarily because it’s factual, but because it’s consistent and authentic” -Seth Godin
Makes Your Story Newsworthy
It pays to issue a press release about your business from time to time. When the media publishes or mentions your business in print or online you instantly become as an expert in the minds of consumers. A press release or a featured article online can result in media mentions worth thousands of dollars in free publicity. A press release should not be stale and boring. In fact, you can go beyond a generic, general business piece by sharing expert advice, opinions, or information on a topic relevant to the journalist and their readers. These types of releases also make great blog posts. If you are stuck on blog topics check out our previous post full of go-to blog post ideas for business owners.
Because there are endless possibilities when it comes to topics, a press release also creates content for your other marketing strategies and social platforms. If you think there is nothing exciting going on with your business use this list. I guarantee there is a newsworthy item in here you can use to start you off.
Press Release Ideas
New Products/Services: When you unveil a new product or service, submit a press release to announce its debut to the world. These types of press releases should highlight the features, availability for purchase and any details of interest to the target retailers and consumers.
New Hires: Introduce any new staff members you have added to your team and let the public get to know them.
Updated Website: Create a summary of new website changes into a press release. Be sure to emphasize how the new changes will benefit new and existing visitors.
New Location: If your small business relocates or opens another location, issue a press release. Use this press release to share how your business is growing and expanding.
Events: Trade shows, art openings, live event, conferences, speaking engagements and award ceremonies are all hot topics for the press.
Hiring of any new agencies: Any new partnerships or collaborations with other agencies can make a great news announcement.
Awards: If your business receives any awards or recognition, you want to share the news
Milestones: Every time your company’s anniversary rolls around, you should find a way to incorporate the information into a press release or blog post. This can revolve around the things that your business accomplishes throughout the year.
PR Tip: Reuse your press release content on other marketing channels like Facebook, Twitter and your website.
Organically Boosts Business Credibility
Technology is changing the way brands gain credibility. Thanks to social media, consumers are in control of how they consume content and interact with brands more than ever. The first step to effectively build your brand awareness and gain credibility is through authentic promotion. This means making sure every time you are visible on social media or in public, potential clients and customers see your business as a helpful, trusted resource of information. Tools to do this include posting consistently on your blog, maintaining a visible social media presence, accepting speaking engagements and keeping a guest blogging schedule.
PR Tip: Work on building trust with your audience by genuinely interacting with them. When you see someone ask a question related to your industry, answer it with no strings attached. Show how you are an expert in your field with helpful advice, tips, and recommendations.
Increases Search Engine Visibility
Link building is arguably the most important parts of SEO. When you generate links from other trusted, high authority websites search engines like Google see them as endorsements of your website, making them play a major role in determining search engine ranking. Link building relies heavily on a traditional public relations approach in which it requires pitching your stories and business news for publication. Ways to build quality links include; guest blog articles, clips posted online or a press release distributed digitally. These platforms provide valuable inbound links to your website, resulting in higher search rakings.
PR Tip: Get to know industry media by connecting with local reporters and journalists, via social sites so you can get to know them. After building some relationships you can start pitching your articles and increase your chances of getting your news featured and published.
Grows Your Social Media Presence
In addition to pitching your story to media outlets, a good PR strategy incorporates your brand message creatively throughout your social media profiles and website. A campaign may use multimedia such as photos, video clips, charts, and blogs to engage your audience and build a strong social media presence organically. Social media is an environment where people can get peer recommendations and can research products on their own. You want to engage with your audience and address any questions and feedback they have. People provide feedback in product reviews, blogs, and forums making these channels as valuable as a company website. Social media advertising is effective, but not as effective as word of mouth recommendations.
PR Tip: Take some pictures or record work day. Give a personal look into your business and interact with your audience. Try to make logging on to your social media profiles a daily habit and you will be surprised how many new connections and opportunities will open to you.
Builds Your Business Reputation
Online reviews and testimonials are a growing phenomenon and have taken word of mouth marketing digital. There are millions of people surfing the web for news and information about people, places, and companies. Reputation management works on-page and off-page. Online focuses on how your business appears in search engine results and review sites. Off-line refers to the process of managing public perception using social and traditional media such as press releases, guest blogs and speaking engagements. To build an effective long-term strategy you need consistent engagement across both traditional and digital channels.
PR Tip: Claim your business pages on review sites and local business directories. Start with sites like your Google Business Page and Yelp.
As technology advances so do the challenges of performing effective marketing campaigns. Public relations plays a role in nearly all aspects your company’s marketing strategy. Public Relations works and the rewards are big… all it takes to start is a little time to tell your story. If you take some time to understand what your business is trying to say and who you are trying to engage, you ultimately set yourself up for success.
Jean Templeton is a public relations director and copywriter who works with small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to help grow their personal brands and businesses.
Jean is the co-founder of Consonant Marketing and believes in creating content that is organically produced and custom made. She is professionally trained in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and specializes in Creative Writing and Public Relations.