A good PR strategy is a good way of boosting your sales, improving your brand’s reputation nationally and locally, and reaching more customers.
You likely don’t have an in-house PR team as a small business owner. The tips below are going to help you with your PR strategy.
Why is PR important for a small business?
Your first question is what exactly is public relations or PR, and what can it do for your small business. PR is going to protect and improve your reputation as a brand. A good public image is going to protect your business when there is a crisis, whether it is one that is coming from inside or a bigger like the pandemic.
There are many ways of improving your brand awareness, and mapping them to your PR strategy is going to help you see great results. The two most important aspects of digital PR covered in the article are improving social media presence and working with media outlets.
Finding your business’ story
Before pitching to journalists and media outlets, it is important to know the exact story of your business, and ensure that it is newsworthy. Journalists tend to get dozens of pitches each week, which makes it important to ensure that yours stands out from the rest and it is what they are looking for.
Knowing your target audience and your story helps narrow down the media outlets you should target. It is a good idea to spend a little more time researching publications that the business’s story is going to fit, instead of sending off media releases (they are sometimes referred to as press releases) left, right, and center.
Take time to reflect on some moments in your history. Perhaps you were the first to do something, won an award, or achieved something great for a client or customer. The important thing is to avoid cramming too much into your pitch. You should aim for the three key messages, and have some good quotes to accompany them.
Are you finding it hard to find a story? Make one
If you are having a hard time finding a story, you can make one. A good way to improve your local reputation is to make a genuine and positive impact in your local community. Always do go through your business. You can decide to work with a local charity so you can raise awareness for a good cause or organize a fundraising event.
Timing is important – coordinate it around a good cause awareness day because it is going to make the story timely and more relevant. Note down all the annual awareness days relevant to your business. Make sure you share that calendar with your team.
Building media connections
Many media releases that are sent rarely get read. You should invest more time in identifying and researching journalists that might be interested in your story. It is more effective to use a personalized approach. Once you have the media list, make sure you personalize every email you send out because it shows that you have thought about what they are looking for.
A good platform to build relationships with journalists is Twitter. Check out the hashtag #journorequest from time to time because journalists tend to use it when looking for industry experts. Be friendly with them because it will help you get PR coverage even if your brand doesn’t have news to share. This is something that PR agency manages to do easily, but you can have a hard time with it.
Going pitch perfect
If you want to land a successful pitch, it will depend on if the story fits the outlet’s content plan, and if it is relevant and timely. Luck also plays a part too. You are going to increase your chances of getting featured if you get your pitch right, whether that is part of a bigger story or an exclusive feature.
If you do your research well, you already know the pitch guidelines that the outline observes and the type of content they are after. These are the two most important things you should consider.
You need to keep it short and sweet. You don’t have to provide a lot of information, if they need more, they are going to ask for it. Start with an introduction, then go to the point – don’t beat around the bush. You should make it clear what you are after, whether it is an interview, product review, or another feature.
You should show your value to the outlet in question; what is your unique selling point, and why should they be interested in it? When you are done, make sure you have thanked the person reading for giving you their time and consideration.
Even if you haven’t yet secured media coverage, social media is a great tool that is going to help you with PR. The best thing about it is that it is free. A good way to boost your reputation is to communicate and interact with your existing customers. You should be reactive – replying to messages and comments because that is what the big companies employ people to do, which shows its importance. This is a good chance to speak one-on-one with your customers.
If you want to improve your online presence and don’t know where to get started, don’t worry because there are some good guides to help you with social media. Working on your social media strategy is going to help you a lot.
Working with influencers
You can add influencer marketing to your digital PR strategy. They are a trusted source of information, and 82% of consumers say they are likely to follow the recommendation of an influencer they are following.
Keep in mind that there are many types of influencers out there, from food, to travel, to sustainability. It can be tricky to find the right influencers who can work with your brand, but if you do it right, then it is going to pay off. This is why it is good to work with a PR agency since they are going to invest time into finding a figure that suits your brand.
You need to find out the track record of an influencer with brand deals. Check out their conversion rates which shows how they have helped businesses they have worked with in the past secure sales. They need to break down their followers, and insights into how the posts perform. It is important for the influencer to show passion for your brand, and what they can do for you. This can also help your SEO efforts
Thinking outside the box
There are different ways of working on your PR as a brand. You can choose to share your business’s thought leadership by interacting with professionals, hosting training sessions, or looking for public speaking opportunities. This can be a great way to get positive PR and win backlinks that will help with your SEO and search presence
Those little things you do have a lot of impacts. How you interact with your customers and engage with key stakeholders is something that most PR strategies underestimate.