One of the hardest aspects of owning a business is building a reputation. It goes without saying that reputable business will do well. Everyone has heard of big businesses like Microsoft and Apple and more often than not we purchase from these companies simply because we have heard of them and we know their reputation. The PR tips that follow aim to raise your company’s profile, so that you can build your small business’s reputation and become a prominent feature in the media.
1. Remember That PR and Advertising Are NOT The Same 🙅♀️
When creating a PR campaign, you must focus on creating organic contact between your business and your audience in order to build brand awareness. Typical examples of PR involve being featured on a blog or in a newspaper report or media interview. Finding the best PR opportunities for your business will help you create a positive image of your company that you can share with the public.
It has been found that PR is almost 90% more effective than advertising in the consumer decision-making process! This is mainly due to the fact that advertising is you talking about yourself and why you are a great business, whereas PR is other people talking about how amazing you are and sharing positive things about your company from a third party perspective. PR is very different from advertising, and for more reasons on why they differ, have a read of our article here.
2. Have (at least) A Medium Term PR Plan
There are two types of PR. The first type focuses purely on creating increased short term sales. The second type focuses on increasing the credibility of your brand as a name in its own right. To foster long term growth, your focus must be on increasing credibility.
To achieve credibility you need a plan. It is important to recognise what you should and should not communicate to your audience. Identify with your audience through the narrative you present in your PR. Think, what has my company done recently? Have you helped the community? Do you have strong thoughts on a topic matter or has your business won any accolades recently? These can be great talking points, and ensuring you have a uniform and consistent approach is key to a great PR campaign. Source PR shares that turning something your business has done into a story, is one quick and very easy way to get a good PR story for your company. To share your story, you can start by posting about it on your social media channels and then contacting local papers with a press release to gauge their interest and voila! You have created a fantastic PR story which has been published in the newspaper and has begun boosting your small business's profile.
🎯 Having a long-term plan correlates closely with our next tip – remain consistent. The key to a successful PR campaign is delivering consistent communication both in substance and frequency.
🎯 In regards to substance, your business should present a united front from the posts and images you share or repost on your own social media channels, all the way to the wider media coverage you receive. Use the stories and points that you chose to emphasise in your PR campaign to show commercial consistency.
🎯 Frequency relates to the amount of times you post in a week on a given social media platform. Top 10 marketer Neil Patel advises that, when it comes to posting on your social media platforms, you do not bombard your audience and followers by posting every day and posting the same images/posts across all of your platforms. It comes across as lazy and does nothing for your credibility and reputation apart from damage it. You can find more advice on how PR can build your reputation here.
4. Use The Media To Your Advantage
Though you may think small businesses are less attractive to the media, this is simply not the case. Unlike large household brands, small businesses do not already have a narrative attached to their brand. Use this to your advantage! The media LOVES small businesses.
The very fact your business has no pre-established narrative gives media outlets and influencers the opportunity to develop more of a story with you for your company. PR for larger companies mainly consists of "managing the press they're already getting." However, your company is a clean slate, ready to be talked about, and here you can control the story that is portrayed in the media. Spend time reaching out to relevant journalists and finding placements for the coverage of your stories, in order to get your small business some media coverage and interviews.
5. Prepare For Media Interviews
Apply for media interviews -> opportunities do not fall from the sky. If your business has done something good let’s talk about it! If you have a story which can be presented to the press, and it is accepted, then you need to prepare, prepare, prepare!
Sarah Evans states the most important thing to have ready is a key messaging guide. This is where you discuss the most important things about your business and your story - it can include your tagline, mission statement / values, or any other pertinent information. Practise is key, however, as any media interview can be incredibly daunting whether it's your first or your 100th! Make sure that, before the interview day arrives, you have rehearsed to some degree what it is you are going to say as this will allow you to settle into the interview, remain calm and present your best business face to the public.
6. Amplify Your Features! 📣
🎯 Making the most of your placements can help you boost your reputation and your company's reach. Once you have completed your interview or feature, follow Sarah's advice once more and start creating a list of ways you can amplify your features!
🎯 Ways in which you can draw attention to your features or interview includes, creating headlines and visuals for your active social media sites; include an "as seen on/in" on your website (as this further heightens your credibility); or even include a link at the bottom of your emails so that your audience are directly brought to your PR successes, which they can also share.
7. Be Patient
One thing that must be noted about a PR campaign is that results take time. Just because you get your first big feature in the newspaper, or maybe appear on the TV, this does not mean sales are going to flood in...
But don't be disheartened! Founder of Mediafy Communications Simonian states that a lot of the time, small businesses often expect instant results after a feature. However, she advises that you need to wait at least 3-6 months before you begin to see the effort of your PR campaign. The long-term goal of creating a PR campaign that builds credibility and reliability will pay off as you will have created brand recognition and trust! This goes a long way in business and eventually, the sales you gather will be from the effort and time you took in raising your business's reputation.
So, implement these 7 simple steps to begin scaling your small business and, in time, reap the rewards of your hard work!
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About the Author:
Camara is a third year Law student at the University of Exeter, with a passion for writing. She’s currently an intern PR Assistant and Blogger at GuidedPR. When she isn't writing or hitting the law books, you can find Camara either working on her own blog that she has created, or on social media keeping up with current affairs!
Find Camara on LinkedIn.