This week we will look into PR Campaigns. Here is the action plan template again, for your reference.
- Advertising & Promotion
- PR Campaigns
- Putting it to Work
While public relations has a different meaning in a large corporate setting, the small business can use many free methods to get their word out. It is in this context that I refer to public relations for small business. Some examples are:
One of best tools in the small business owner’s public relations tool box is the press release. A well written press release is bound to get some mention in the local business section of the newspaper. In the best possible scenario, this might lead to an article or television interview. News outlets are constantly looking for interesting news and public interest stories. While they have lots of national and state stories they can carry, they’d much rather tell a local story. You just need to give them a compelling reason to do so.
When writing a press release, follow the standard industry format. If you don’t know how to write a press release, then do a little research so that you can utilize the proper format and tell a newsworthy story. If your press release is seen as an advertisement, it likely won’t get mentioned. The local media wants to help; you just have to do your part.
By becoming an industry resource to the business editor or one of the reporters that covers your industry, you stand a greater chance of getting your new release turned into a story in the paper or on the TV news. When you see interesting or important news articles or industry papers about your markets, share that information with the reporter or editor. By being helpful and not self-serving with your industry information, you’re more likely to be seen as a credible new source when it comes time to get your story covered.
Write a bog for your business. Attach the blog or link to it from your website. Anyone can write and manage a blog. It’s not about writing a novel. In fact, short to the point stories are the norm. If you’re going to write consistently long articles, then they must be entertaining and/or informative. People aren’t going to read a three page article that drones on about nothing.
Your blog entries can be a combination of information about your business, your industry, special events at your company, interesting stories about your employees and even special sales. It can’t be a constant sales pitch though. If it is, no one will come back.
Charity & Civic Volunteer
Become a volunteer with a local charity or civic group. Pick a group that you have interest and get to work. A leadership role with a well know or respected civic or charitable group will give you, your employees and your company credibility, not to mention add to the good work that the group is doing in your community. I’ve never seen a company that adopted a ‘give back’ attitude get anything but a positive response from their good work in the community.
If you have expertise in particular areas of business or your industry, offer to teach classes in those areas to local entrepreneurs. Local business incubators and small business development centers are always looking for volunteers to help mentor entrepreneurs and lead training classes. This can be a good way of gaining credibility within the business community and among the public. By associating yourself with worthwhile organizations that help others learn what you’ve already learned, you are seen as an expert in your field.
Speaker & Workshop Leader
In addition to speaking and mentoring in a business incubator setting, you can offer classes on your own and give talks. Find a local restaurant, hotel or business services company to donate space in return for bringing in customers. You can give a free or paid talk or conduct a workshop on a topic that your customer base will hopefully find interesting. By giving the talk or conducting the workshop, you gain credibility as an expert in your field.
Most civic groups that meet regularly, like Rotary, need speakers to entertain and inform their membership. Depending on the size of your community, there will be from three to dozens of these type groups that are regularly seeking speakers.
Stay connected with us on social media and our blog. Next week we will look at Networking.