Whether you realize it or not, every business big or small needs Public Relations to succeed. Public Relations is the management of communications between your organization and your target audience, employees, stakeholders, and the media. Poor communication in any of these areas could have a negative impact on your business, or at the very least, result in missed opportunities to promote your message.
Previously on the blog we discussed effective Public Relations for nonprofits. Much like nonprofits, small businesses will often have a smaller budget and rarely have a designated PR professional who works in-house or one hired externally through an agency. With or without these, you CAN promote your message and position your organization well in the eyes of your audience.
Here are our top five communication and Public Relations tips for small business:
Build Strong Relationships
Take time to identify the key relationships in your business and focus on effective communication geared toward each relationship. This primarily includes all media contacts (social, reporters, bloggers, news outlets, etc.) with an interest in your business industry. Your communication strategy will differ with each relationship. The key is to tailor your message to each outlet and build strong relationships with those who have the greatest interest in your niche. It might seem a bit more time consuming at first but will pay off for you in the long run.
Do not forget other important relationships like that with your target audience, or internal relationships with your employees or stakeholders. These relationships are just as important.
Know and Fine-Tune Your Brand
To effectively communicate your who, what, why, and how, you need to know your brand identity. Your brand will set the tone and direction of all your communications as well as create consistency in your message.
Your brand is all that people see, hear, or experience when they come in contact with your organization. It should include things like your logo, company values and mission statement, and a definition of your target audience(s).
Make a PR Plan
A good PR plan, or strategy, will help your organization make strategic and effective communication decisions. Once you know who your target audience is, you will need to decide on the best ways to reach them. A press release sent to the media is still a common PR practice, but methods of communication have evolved and continue to change. Some things to consider and include in your PR communication plan:
- Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.): Do you have a strong social media presence? What can you do to make it better? What social platforms will help you reach your audience?
- Google and other online ads: Do you have money in your budget to make this kind of investment to communicate your message? Will this type of outreach work for your audience?
- Media Kit: All businesses, big or small, should have one of these. A media kit condenses all information the media might need about your organization. This should include your organization’s history, products or services offered, key personnel bios, business facts, and current news or events. Update it often.
Think about your organization and business. What is YOUR organization’s narrative? What is the story you want and need to tell? Keep a fluid record of seasonal themes, industry insights, success stories, and other items you want your target audience to know. Consider all possible stories and angles to pitch the media or use on social media to promote your message. Not every pitch will be a success, but it is better to be proactive in your communication than reactive, especially if it is in reaction to a negative or unwanted headline.
Be sure to share your information in a time sensitive way. Always strive to stay ahead of the story so that when your audience hears something about your organization it results in a positive response.
Know When to Ask for Help
As a leader in your organization, you are the expert and know your business inside and out. But it is okay to ask for help. Look for a PR professional who will help to strategize your message and increase your reach. This can be done inside of any budget. You might be surprised how helpful a simple brainstorm meeting can be or how a conversation with an outside consultant can impact your strategy.
If you are interested in Public Relations strategy or consultation to help protect your brand, Infinity Concepts is here to help. CLICK HERE or call us today at 724-733-1200.