PR Tips for Small Business

by Rachelle DeSorcy

3 min read

“If I was down to my last dollar I’d spend it on PR.” – Bill Gates

“Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.” – Richard Branson

A public relations department or specialist is an important business asset. Follow these tips to boost your company through PR.

1. Understand concepts behind PR, marketing, and advertising

There are differences between the three, but each are intertwined. Generally, public relations is a combination of relationship building, storytelling, and media outreach to convey your messages to the public. Essentially, it’s managing the flow of information from your business to the public. Marketing is the planning, development, and implementation of tactics that promote and sell products or services. Advertising is usually a paid means of communicating to your target audience. Most often, a successful company uses all three of these methods and understands how they work together.

2. Figure out what’s newsworthy

Perhaps you’re launching a new product, opening a storefront, or you’ve received funding from an investor. All of these things, if framed and pitched correctly, could land you some exposure in the media. Journalists measure news value by things like impact, timeliness, prominence of the people, groups, or issues involved, human interest, uniqueness and relevance to their audience. Find out how others are making headlines with before you make your pitch.

3. Master the pitch

Mastering the pitch takes practice. It’s important to know who to pitch to and how to pitch your idea. Research journalists who cover topics that relate to your business and industry. Pitch a journalist through email with a news release, on the phone by providing the essentials to any story – the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when, when and how), or in person at an event with the same information. You can also position yourself as a thought leader to be interviewed on timely topics like regulation changes or trends. When making your pitch, be quick, catchy, sincere, and most important of all, newsworthy.

4. Start conversations, build relationships

Entrepreneurs can position themselves in the media’s eye by writing and distributing a news release, a blog, tweeting at them, and even strategically commenting on articles until they recognize your name. To have a mutually beneficial relationship with journalists, you need to understand their wants and needs, and always remember they’re human too. Don’t overload their inbox or call them relentlessly (some say don’t call them at all,) be prepared when they do call, do your research to find the right journalists to talk to, and don’t waste their time with a boring and non-newsworthy pitch.

5. Social Media

The easiest and cheapest way to use PR to boost your business is to be active and recognized on social media. Create social media channels on various platforms that relate to your business or product. You can leverage the use of your public relations strategy by communicating and monitoring journalists and freelance journalists on Twitter. Create a media list of journalists you think would be interested in your content and keep it current. Monitor their tweets, favourite their tweets, retweet, and find out if they’re looking for a story.

The Value of PR

A solid, well thought out PR campaign will raise media and customer awareness of your business. It’s hard to measure PR in terms of black and white data and direct ROI, but the value is seen through a longer span of media and consumer recognition. The relationships between both as well as the attraction of new investors far outweighs a short advertising campaign or doing nothing at all. The best case scenario is using your PR skills and techniques to attract attention to your business, which is worth the investment.

Photo Copyright: Deyan Georgiev

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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