Public relations is an incredibly powerful marketing channel, but often comes at an eye-watering price that small business owners simply can’t afford. Even if you do have the money to burn, a full-scale, externally managed PR campaign is often not appropriate for early stage entrepreneurs.
In this piece, we’ll teach how to run effective small business PR while not breaking the bank by stepping through four simple ways you can get the ball rolling yourself to get the word out. Let’s start with the basics!
- Get Your Background Story Straight
Before you start worrying about how to reach journalists and influencers, make sure you’ve got at least a rudimentary press kit prepared and available on your site. Putting this together will help you tick a number of very important boxes:
- It’ll force you to describe your overall offering and backstory in a compelling way.
- It’ll make you bite the bullet on putting together some professional images to showcase your business.
- It gives journalists a simple way of being able to reference your business in their story in a way you’ve approved in advance.
Putting together a press kit doesn’t have to a be a massive project either. Simply type “how to make a press kit” into Google and you’ll find a wealth of easy to follow overviews.
- Map Your Local Media
Local media coverage is your realistic short-term goal as a small business owner and, in stark contrast to the nationals, they are usually hungry for stories to fill their pages. Before you begin contacting local press at random, take a little extra time to actually map out the landscape to get yourself off to an organised start. This is as simple as doing the following:
- Put together a list of local print media (segmented by type i.e. newspapers, magazines, trade publications etc.) and identify the individual journalists you think might be open to covering you.
- Track down (and follow!) the social profiles of the press people you’ve identified. Also add in any obvious local influencers who tend to attract their own coverage on a regular basis.
- Put Together A Compelling Pitch
Now that you know your general background story and who you’re trying to reach, it’s time to come up with a specific compelling pitch. You’re looking for a story about your business that will go down well locally and give the news people covering it an easy hook to build a piece around.
Obviously enough, this will vary wildly according to what your business actually does, but bear the following points in mind:
- Ask yourself if this is a story you would actually like to read yourself.
- Make sure you can explain the story in a couple of sentences maximum.
- Make sure the story is not all about you. It needs an angle that can easily resonate with an audience.
- Reach Out In Person
Many small business owners go straight for the corporate-sounding press release in an attempt to get local coverage. While this isn’t always a bad approach, you’re likely to get much more value locally by reaching out in person to reporters.
Using the list you’ve identified in step two, start testing the waters and pursuing individual people in a way that’s respectful of their time. Remember, even if they don’t bite at first, you’re slowly building relationships that could be very valuable down the line.
The four points we’ve covered won’t necessarily get you on evening television news, but they’re an excellent way to get the ball rolling from a standing start, and should have you covered for at least the first year or two of operation. Start implementing them today and you’ll soon be catching plenty of local attention via PR!