Maximise the PR Opportunities for Your Small Business
PR is all about reputation – building or enhancing your positive presence in the media for your audience and protecting your reputation in the event of a crisis.
The benefit a PR professional can bring to your firm is in analysing and finding the great messages within your business, knowing who to pitch to and when you should do it, and planning the rollout and responses. If you are looking to engage a PR professional in a crisis, the work they do can help mitigate the damage to your reputation and stakeholders.
PR can include a wide range of activities or initiatives such as press releases, speech writing, events and social media management.
Great PR gets your great news in front of the right people and builds awareness of your great products, services, unique business philosophy, or thought leadership. It’s worth remembering though, that unlike a paid advertisement, there are no guarantees your PR efforts will result in coverage. Although you may have paid for a PR professional, PR is not paid advertising. However, if you do get that valuable coverage, it can be seen as more credible than a paid advertising message. When someone else is spreading the good word about your business it can result in building trust in your brand.
If you are looking to raise the profile of your business or establishing yourself as the ‘go-to’ person for comments on topical issues in your industry, there is a lot you can do yourself. You might still contact a PR expert but these things will also make their job easier.
- Start with the messaging. What is it you want people to know about you and become known for? Is it your niche expertise, an innovative approach within your industry or an alternative view on a hot topic?
- Remember that it needs to be newsworthy. A journalist will get a lot of companies pitching their new product each day, so send them something that is different, unique to you and interesting.
- Identify the lead commentators/journalists in your sector. Read their columns and look at what angles they take. This will help you to understand the stories that they will be interested in. Make sure you also engage with their blogs by commenting and sharing. This helps them and gives them a higher awareness of you and your company.
- Start telling your own story yourself. Use your website and social pages to share insight, opinion, news and commentary. And add your social icons to your blog to make it easy for others to spread your news.
- Be active in the online community. Sharing a few posts is not enough, go out and comment on other posts, respond to queries and comments. Keep an eye out for trends and stories that you are able to comment on.
- Add depth to your website with accurate information. If someone is interested in publishing a story about you, make it easy for them to source all the details without hours of research. Check your ‘About Us’ page has up-to-date details for you and the team. Include photos and the background story information about your business, including useful facts and figures if it’s appropriate.
- Speak at an event. Events are a great way to build your profile across a wider network. They are also a great way to add value for your clients. Either plan your own or offer to speak at Industry events and trade shows.
- Association memberships. Grow your network by being involved in industry bodies and local business organisations.
- Appoint a spokesperson. Decide on who should be the spokesperson for your business. They need to be available to respond to questions and participate in interviews. Identify someone (and it may be you!) in advance in order to give them time to prepare and be ready.
- Bring the team in – Put some time in the diary to bring the team together and get buy-in on the key themes and messages you want to communicate so that everyone shares a consistent message.
- Enter your business for awards. These often get good coverage by media and the main sponsors. And if you get an award it just adds to the trust factor of your brand.
And finally, If your story is picked up by a journalist or blogger, Well done. Now make sure you share it on all your social pages! Use the URL share function in BOMA campaigns to share a web page to social.
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