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How to find time for PR in your small business – and what to do!

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How to find time for PR in your small business – and what to do!

There are very few unique businesses out there and so every one has to find ways to stand out amongst the competition.  PR can help keep you ahead and, sometimes, the fact that a potential customer has heard or read about you can help to secure the business.

In short, PR for small businesses is a core business tool.  It can raise your profile and build your reputation. And, being able to talk confidently about your business and how you help solve your customers’ problems is also a powerful confidence builder.

As a PR coach, I often hear these objections:

  • “I don’t have the time, I’m trying to run a business here.”
  • “I don’t really know what PR is.”
  • “I’ve already spent a fortune on advertising and got nowhere.”
  • “When I am doing more business, I will think about it.”

But without PR, who will know about your business and how will it grow?

Nowadays, PR includes getting coverage in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV but also online, on social media, by speaking to customers, to business groups, to schools or writing about your business and how your help your customers.

Find the time:

Set aside 15 minutes every day to update posts on social media and engage with followers.  Block out one hour at the same time every week – maybe on a Friday morning – to write an article for your website or blog.  And over a coffee break on a Monday, research the media where you would like to be featured and keep a folder for clippings and ideas for inspiration. Talk to your customers and suppliers and spot opportunities to speak to local groups, join up with local charities and promote your business by word of mouth.  Once you get going, you will spot more and more opportunities!

Here are 10 simple things you can do to get started:

  1. Make sure your social media profiles clearly state what your business does. Link to your website and add in a telephone number, if possible.
  2. Use your website or facebook page to “be an expert” – show off the latest styles in wedding dresses, floral art, sandwich fillings etc. Share these updates on all your social media.
  3. Spend a couple of hours researching journalists in your local area, relevant trade press, specialist area of expertise. Follow them on twitter.
  4. Develop a small group of relevant journalists and email them to offer comments or stories on your area of business or perhaps personal interests that can include mention of your business.
  5. Consider other PR ideas – write letters to the Editor, offer to supply regular tips and ideas, become the local/industry expert on some aspect of your business
  6. Sign up for free trials of media enquiry services like Gorkana or Response Source and respond to relevant journalist requests that come in each day.
  7. If you like writing, think about a blog and let the media know that you are a regular blogger on certain subjects.
  8. Join a forum where potential or actual clients meet and get involved in the discussions.
  9. Keep your website up to date.
  10. Think about getting your business involved with a charity, local fundraising, schools project, community groups.

 

 

 

 

7 things to do when a media interview goes badly

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7 things to do when a media interview goes badly

Everyone loves the idea of a great piece of coverage in newspapers or magazines, especially if they have pitched the journalist themselves with their “big idea”.  But things can go wrong and the coverage may leave you with, at best, a sinking feeling or, at worst, in a horrified panic.  And “they quoted me out of context” just won’t solve the problem.

Here’s what you can do next….

  1. Give in to the panic – allow yourself a few moments to panic, rant, sob…whatever you choose.

 

  1. Then grab yourself a strong coffee, deep breath, and read the article through again starting with the headline. Often the headline is far more shocking than the article.

 

  1. Then go through it all slowly, line by line, and list any errors of fact. Ignore misspelt names, erroneous titles and tiny mistakes.  Look for substantive errors or omissions that change the story, change a line of argument, misrepresent something or someone.

 

  1. Contact the journalist to explain what the errors are, why they need to be changed and ask how this can happen. Approach this conversation professionally.  Journalists want to get their facts right and you will stand a better chance of getting a change if you are approachable, but business-like.  Online stories can be changed quickly. For print, think about a letter for publication or perhaps a follow up interview with a fresh angle.

 

  1. Be a publisher – write a response to the article for your website. Focus on the information you want people to know. Add photos and video if you have it. Share it with your customers, your staff and your suppliers. Send it to the trade press, local media or other relevant outlets.

 

  1. Get social –your social media channels give you direct access to your customers and audiences. You can say how you feel about the piece, but don’t rant – reassure your audience.  Don’t get bogged down in details – if you need to break an issue down, put a simple bullet point guide on your website and tweet out the link.

 

  1. Maybe there were lessons to be learned. Take some time to consider if that’s the case.  Then try again. Approach another publication. If you have a story to tell, another journalist will be interested.

 

 

 

 

Top tips to prepare for media interviews

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It all starts with the audience. Who you are speaking to defines the tone and the content.  So many people being interviewed believe it is about them and how much they can show off what they know. They, therefore, miss the point that, no matter how sensitive the issue, a media briefing is an opportunity to talk to people who have a view of their business and could well have an influence on its future – as a consumer, a regulator, an employee or a politician.  With a clear view of the audience, establish the purpose of the briefing, for example, to reassure, to provoke interest, to apologise – then pull together three of four key points that will resonate, are easily expressed and sound authentic.  Use examples or tell micro stories to make the points memorably.

Who should be interviewed? Typically, the most senior executive is put up for media briefings and this is often a mistake.  If the spokesperson won’t appeal to the audience then chose someone who can.  A local manager is more suitable for local media than someone from HQ.  A worker from a call centre worker or factory floor can appeal credibly to the audience with their genuine experience.

Lastly, be ruthless about the practical details – where, when, what to wear, how long, who else in involved.  Carry a hair brush, a mirror, check behind people’s heads and bring a flask of coffee if you are miles from civilisation!

 

This post was first published on prmoment.com https://www.prmoment.com/category/pr-insight/top-tips-to-prepare-for-media-interviews