To implement public relations, commonly known as PR, in your business, it is first important to understand exactly what PR is. The Public Relations Society of America defines it as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their audiences.”
Essentially, public relations is the act of creating and presenting your business story to the public as well as to potential partners. It’s an integral part of growing a business and maintaining your reputation as a brand.
Why should public relations be important to a small business owner?
Whether you have just started your business or have been growing for several years, it is crucial that your brand stands out from the competition. For most companies, what sets them apart is their unique brand identity and voice. An effective PR campaign creates positive brand awareness and genuine, positive conversation about your business. When it comes to creating a PR strategy as a business owner, you may want to consider hiring a professional or PR agency, or there are tactics you can implement yourself. when you are starting out.
Here are three ways to increase your brand awareness and media presence as a small business.
1. Create a brand story
The foundation of solid public relations is a finely crafted story that helps the audience understand who you are and what your business and customers mean to you. Share your story online and in person. Consider addressing these points:
- What prompted you to start this business?
- What does this business mean to you?
- What do your customers represent to you?
- Is it a family business?
- Is it a know-how transmitted from generation to generation?
- How do you support your staff and your community?
A well-crafted story attracts the attention of the media, journalists, and bloggers looking for a story to tell to their own audiences, leading to increased recognition for your business.
Community events are a great way to connect and interact directly with customers. It’s a fantastic way to support the community and market your business. Start by researching events that are taking place in your area and contact us to find out how you can participate or even sponsor the event. These events can range from charitable fundraisers to holiday markets. Just make sure the type of event matches your brand, target audience, and values. When you expose yourself to the public eye, you’re also more likely to be featured in third-party newsletters, local posts and blogs, and on social media.
There has also been an increase in virtual events and panels. If it makes sense for your business to reach an audience outside of your geographic location, consider attending and speaking at these online events to reach a wider audience. This is especially useful if you have deliverables that can be distributed nationwide.
Social media has bridged the gap between business and customer. Before that, the only way a customer could find out about a brand was through paid media or a publicist. There are now many online platforms to choose from and you can generate your own advertising by implementing a strategic social media plan. Systematically publish and engage your target audience where they prefer to consume content. Tell your story and share your community’s efforts on your social media in real time and the way you want it to be heard. Infusing your brand story into your online communications helps you connect with potential customers and partners on a more personal level. It also gives you the option of being reposted by your subscribers and community groups.
These communications are most effective when you provide a consistent brand identity and voice. This means using specific vocabulary, tone, brand colors, and visuals across all platforms.
The benefits of running a public relations campaign
A well-done public relations can gain more recognition than an expensive marketing plan and often leaves a more lasting impression on potential clients. It can also lead to increased trust and connection with your brand. There is no “right” way to do public relations, so it’s best to jump right in, research it thoroughly, and give it a try. Find reliable sources to help you write your first press release, cover letter, or media alert that will get your name out to customers.
About the Author
Michelle Lam was a publicist and financial public relations communications strategist. She specializes in brand management, media, crisis communication and social media marketing. His versatility was transferred to the tourism market by increasing notoriety in South America, which earned him the PRSA’s Reputation & Brand Management award (2014).
Michelle launched Bklynite Media in 2019, providing public relations and social media services. She has over 14 years of public relations services and was born and raised in the hospitality industry.
Editorial contributions by Roseanne Attia
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