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.
Here are 12 simple things you can do to get started:
- Make sure your social media profiles clearly state what your business does. Link to your website and add in a telephone number, if possible.
- 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.
- Spend a couple of hours researching journalists in your local area, relevant trade press, specialist area of expertise. Follow them on twitter.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If you like writing, think about a blog and let the media know that you are a regular blogger on certain subjects.
- Join a forum where potential or actual clients meet and get involved in the discussions.
- Keep your website up to date.
- Think about getting your business involved with a charity, local fundraising, schools project, community groups.
- Research PR all the time, keep a folder for clippings and ideas for inspiration.
- Do some PR activity every week.