Elaborate public relations campaigns can often be an expensive undertaking. Creating a PR campaign to fit the needs of your small business will require focused time and effort, but doesn't have to break the bank. Below are a few tips to keep in mind when considering a public relations push:
Create a press kit. Your press kit should be a digital compilation of background documents including executive bios, headshots, hi-res logos, 'about us' information, and other items to introduce yourself to the media. If you sell products, product descriptions and hi-res images should also be included. The easiest place to store your press kit is in a sharable, online folder, for example DropBox. This way, if the media ever requests your press kit you can send a link for download- rather than a very large file. Folders within press kits should be clearly labeled, and easily navigable for media.
Set up Google Alerts for your business -- and your competitors. It is equally as important to be aware of how your competitors are positioning themselves, as it is to know whenever you are mentioned in the media. Consider setting up free Google Alerts for your business and for your competitors, as well as a few key industry words. This will allow you to stay abreast of 'breaking' news -a pivotal time to reach out to media to secure opportunistic stories. If you receive an alert for an article you really enjoy, you may want to consider reaching out to the author to compliment them on the story, and offer to lend your expertise for any future features.
Be pro-active and on the lookout for opportunities to position yourself as an expert. Connect with your local newspaper or news website to explore quid pro quo opportunities to lend your expertise to a column or standalone article. Writing content is mutually beneficial, and if you are lucky enough to secure a column online it may also help boost your SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Draft an op-ed. Is there something happening in the media that you want to comment on? Are you launching a new, noteworthy campaign? Or maybe you have an opinion that you need to get out there, in your own words? Consider drafting an op-ed to share your news or opinion. A quick Google search will give you guidelines for submitting op-eds to different media outlets.
Set aside time each day to discover opportunities to connect with the media. This could mean running a quick Twitter search of journalists putting out queries- or subscribing to HARO (Help a Reporter Out), a series of free daily e-mail alerts that connect journalists on deadline with relevant experts and brands.
As important as PR is to building and sustaining a successful business, small business owners are busy and often good public relations practices fall by the wayside.
If you are short on time but looking to build brand awareness, consider working with a PR agency, or freelancer, that focuses primarily on servicing small business clients. Not all public relations agencies require hefty annual retainers. Many PR professionals will work with small businesses on a month-to-month or project basis.
If you are looking for a PR agency, be sure to check out ODwyerpr.com. Consider searching for freelancers or small business-specific public relations firms within coworking office platforms, like the WeWork network.
Small businesses often have the best stories to tell -- so get out and tell yours!