There are so many ways to get the word out about your small business. You can go the traditional advertising route, or you can tap into digital marketing. There are also networking events, conferences, and other professional events that are great for building awareness of your brand.
However, many small businesses overlook public relations. This tactic provides a great way for brands to shape their public image and garner more attention from potential customers.
In this article, we will discuss the basics of PR for small businesses. We will cover what public relations is and what it means for small businesses specifically.
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Public relations, which is often simply known as "PR, is a tactic used by brands and public figures that is meant to control how they are portrayed in the media. Basically, PR can be used for brands to release announcements, share details about new projects, and more.
The idea behind PR is to ensure a brand or public figure is portrayed in a positive light and that this positive image is shared with the right audience.
When it comes to small businesses, PR can be a game-changer. As a small business, developing a brand and drawing awareness to that brand is really important, and PR makes it easy to bring that fruition.
PR can help give voices to small businesses and set them up for growth. Plus, by laying the groundwork for positive media relationships and interactions, small businesses can continue to leverage these connections as they grow into more widely known brands.
PR has many benefits for small businesses, including enhanced brand awareness, control of your brand image, and more. Let's take a closer look at these benefits.
You may have heard the phrase "no press is bad press." Some PR specialists may have different opinions on this sentiment, but the point is that when you are in the media and have press coverage, you draw awareness and attention to your brand.
PR enables you to do just that. It can help you land spots in digital publications, print magazines, newspapers, blogs, newsletters, and other media outlets with large followings. BY collaborating with these various media outlets, you can get your brand in front of more people.
The ability to control your brand's image is one of the biggest benefits of PR for small businesses. By working with the media and pitching unique stories and angles, you can control how your brand is presented.
When you have control over your brand image, you are more likely to control how it is perceived. A solid PR strategy looks at various factors, such as your target audience, the social climate, and more, to determine how to best present your brand to achieve your desired perception.
Plus, the positive press can help improve the overall legitimacy of your business in the eyes of prospective buyers, investors, partners, and more.
While digital marketing and paid ads are relatively cheap, doing PR in-house can be done for even cheaper. Getting coverage for a story or an announcement from your small business can be as simple as writing up a press release and sending it over to some journalists.
Of course, you can spend more money to run more powerful PR campaigns, but the benefit is that you can start these initiatives with no monetary investment at all. This is great for brands that are trying to get off the ground.
Community is everything for a lot of businesses, especially those that work on referrals or have brick-and-mortar locations.
PR can help you create ties within your community and further lay your roots for greater brand growth. It's possible to execute a PR strategy that targets local publications to prioritize coverage throughout your local community.
A huge part of PR for small businesses is the fact that it highlight's brand's achievements. While you can post about your wins on social media, getting more traditional media coverage through PR allows you to amplify these wins.
Plus, when your achievements are recognized by major publications, you can cite that recognition again and again. This creates a sort of permanence 4that can benefit your brand's reputation for years to come.
Since PR can help you attain positive media coverage, you can leverage this attention for partnerships or incentivize investors to get involved in your business.
Positive media attention not only helps to make your brand seem more legitimate, but it shows partners that there are opportunities to draw attention to their other initiatives, as well.
What's great about PR is that a bit of little strategy and effort go a long way. There are a plethora of things that small business owners and operators can do to amplify their public relations efforts.1
Here are some tips that small businesses can follow in order to make the most of their PR strategies.
Media kits are very commonly associated with artists, performers, and other media personalities. However, if you're doing PR for your small business, it is a good idea to include a media kit with pitches so that it's easy for outlets to provide accurate coverage of your brand.2
Your media kit should include a bio, a short boilerplate, a link to your website, brand assets (logos and other imagery), links to past press features, contact information, and any other information that you deem relevant.
Make sure your media kit is aesthetically appealing and represents your brand well. Also, make sure it's easy to access and well-organized so journalists can find everything they need without much effort.
There are a variety of PR tools available for small businesses that plan to handle public relations in-house. These tools vary in nature, so some simply connect brands with media outlets and others are for scouting out journalists.
Some popular PR tools include:
These tools range from free to over US $100/month. We encourage you to check them out to see which ones could fit best in your small business's PR strategy.
When it comes to getting press for a project you're working on or for your brand in general, it is important to create a narrative and tell a story that will resonate with others. In doing so, you will create something that people can better connect with, and it will give you a better chance of getting picked up by a publication.
For example, "Businessman Finds Success" sounds like a generic headline, but "Rags to Riches: Formerly Homeless Man Builds Multi-Million Dollar Business" hooks readers with a story.
Storytelling is especially important for small businesses that are not widely known. This is because businesses without widespread recognition will have trouble hooking journalists, publications, and readers with just their brand name.
The dawn of influencers and social media has done wonders for businesses. Small businesses can leverage partnerships with influencers to gain attention for their brands and projects. This sort of partnership often comes in the form of a brand collaboration on a product line or having an influencer as a brand ambassador or spokesperson.
For example, you could sign a deal with a fitness influencer to become an ambassador for your gym equipment brand. You can submit a press release to publications and use it as an opportunity to make some noise about the new partnership.
Plus, having well-known names in your headlines can incentivize more publications to pick up the pitch. It can also help to get viewers to pay closer attention to your stories
Participating in community events is another great way to get good press for your small business. You can sponsor events thrown by community organizations, or you can throw events of your own to empower and uplift those around you.
Either way, your community will appreciate the involvement, and local publications are likely to provide coverage, as well.
As you likely know, Google offers a variety of free tools that are great for different areas of business operations. From email hosting to presentation building, Google has got you covered.
What you may not be aware of is Google Alerts. Google Alerts is a tool that you can use to receive notifications any time your brand is mentioned online. This is a great way to track PR initiatives or identify press that you've garnered unknowingly.
When you know what's being said about your brand, it is easy to stay on top of both positive and negative coverage and continue to shift the narrative in a way that compliments your business.
Much of PR depends on relationships within the media. Building positive relationships with journalists, editors, and other important people at publications can help to give you a leg up when it comes to getting coverage for your business's accomplishments, announcements, and so forth.
You can make media contacts at networking events, online networking, or through an introduction by other professionals in your industry.
It is important to realize that these are very much give-and-take relationships. For example, you might offer exclusive access to big news in exchange for prime coverage. Get creative in how you form these relationships so that both parties benefit.
When you think of social media for business, marketing is likely the first thing that comes to mind. However, the evolution of this technology and industry over the past decade has truly made social media an extension of traditional media.
You can control your brand's image by curating your brand's social media pages and profiles to reflect the values that your business holds in high regard. Keep an enticing aesthetic and make sure the content you post is representative of your brand values.
A good way to capture the attention of readers is to provide expert opinions or advice from your small business's leadership team. This allows you to establish thought leadership in your space which reflects well on your brand.
For example, if you own a wholesale clothing business, you can have your CEO submit a pitch about fashion trends for the coming season.
Hosting an event is a fantastic opportunity to connect with the public and the media. It gives the media firsthand interactions with your organization. Some popular buzz-worthy events include facility naming ceremonies, ribbon cuttings, groundbreaking ceremonies, team member initiations, and product releases.
The key to success with this type of initiative is carefully curating your guest list. Carefully choose which media outlets and journalists you invite so that you can ensure that you end up with coverage in the most relevant publications.
This tip can also work in conjunction with some of the others that we've covered. For example, you can host a charitable event that supports your community or a conference that highlights the expertise of your team.
PR is just one part of the puzzle when it comes to operating and growing a small business. As your brand becomes more widely recognized, it is important to have a sales strategy in place to turn new prospects into customers.
That's where an e-commerce marketplace like Alibaba.com comes into play. Alibaba.com enables B2B sellers to create branded mini-sites to serve as online storefronts for their businesses.
In addition to the buyer-facing sites, Alibaba.com offers a complete toolkit of features to help wholesalers and manufacturers manage their sales and communication with customers. The platform is also equipped with tools for promoting products, optimizing listings, and other useful selling tools.
Open a seller account on Alibaba.com to start selling in no time.