Public Relations is often glamorized or blown way out of proportion when portrayed on TV or in the movies. Olivia Pope and Samantha Jones might be PR pros on Scandal and Sex and the City, but don’t expect the real world to be quite that dramatic. If you’re a small business owner who is planning to manage your own PR, here are a few tips to help you get started and do it right.
Why is PR Important?
Public relations is the glue which holds your marketing together. It helps you craft consistent messages, weave them throughout your marketing and distribute those messages to a range of media outlets to increase your visibility and reach. Yes, we live in a world where anyone can search for information about your business on the Internet, but what happens when a journalist calls to write a story about your business and they publish the wrong information? Having the proper PR materials in place to distribute to journalists, publications or various websites will ensure the correct information about your business is being shared.
Create a Standard Press Release
This is a great place to get started when it comes to creating PR pieces for your business. Is your business expanding? Do you want to announce an important partnership with another business in the community? If the answer is yes, you’ll need a press release. Press releases are one page documents you can send to local papers or reporters to share information about your business. You don’t need to send a press release every single time you hire a new employee or make a sale, but you’ll want to create one if a big event is impacting your business. Create a standard press release format you can use over and over again, but change out the information when you need to. Not sure how to format a press release? There are a plethora of examples you can find on the Internet. Press releases can be as simple or detailed as you want them to be, but will always need to contain your contact information. If a newspaper or website picks up your press release you want them to be able to contact you for more information.
Get Out and Network
You’re not going to make any new business or media contacts sitting at home on the couch watching Netflix. Get out into your community and start talking about your business. Attend a local chamber meeting or talk to other business owners. If you’re managing your own PR you’re going to have to make an effort to spread the word about your business and create new business contacts. You also need to make yourself accessible to your new contacts. Does your business have a website? No? Well, you’ll need a website with basic information about your business (i.e. phone number, address and links to social media pages). The Internet is everyone’s go-to source for finding information about businesses so you need to be there. Once you have a website you will be able to post your press releases directly to your website. You will also need to have an updated email address and telephone number to give contacts. If you don’t want to share your personal email address with journalists then you will need to create a separate email address and check it regularly! Check out some great networking tips in this post.
Make Sure You Have a Story Worth Sharing
You can’t expect journalists to come to you begging to feature your business in their publication. You have to get in front of them. But if you don’t have anything interesting to share, no one will care. Look at some of your competitors. Are they posting press releases on their websites? What kind of stories are they sharing? Look at local publications and see which businesses are being featured and why. Do your research. When you’re reading these stories are you interested in learning more? Make sure the information you are sharing in your press release is meaningful. If you don’t care about it, no one else will, especially the media.
Managing PR for your business is not impossible, but it can be overwhelming at times (public relations is a full time job after all). If you’re going to take on the task of running your business’s PR department, you’re going to have to fully commit. You don’t want to half-ass your PR efforts. Write some standard press releases, start networking and make sure you’re sharing interesting, relevant information with your contacts. Don’t forget to do your research either. If it all becomes too much for you, you can always call the Roundpeg office.
Learning to promote your business isn’t easy. Here are some additional resources to guide you down the right path:
- How to Work With the Media
- How to Get Press Coverage in One Easy Step
- Pitching for Bloggers is Not Traditional PR