Small business owners should consider updating their PR strategies

When marketing your business, you want to have a comprehensive plan for public relations. PR can include a lot of different elements – it’s everything from how you talk to colleagues about your enterprise, to how you talk to the press, to how you promote your business using social media tools. A lot of pieces fall under the PR umbrella, but they should all combine to send one unified, cohesive message.

According to The Globe and Mail, the name of the PR game is changing. In the past, companies would pay PR firms to promote their businesses and get them mentioned in newspapers and other media outlets, but in the digital age, even small business owners are capable of being their own PR engines. Content marketing, SEO and thought leadership are all initiatives that entrepreneurs can take into their own hands quickly and confidently.

Are you looking to upgrade your PR strategies? Here are a few tips that will help you align your practices with the industry leaders.

Don’t wait for the media
The old way of getting a message out there was to write a press release, send it out to media outlets and wait for reporters to come calling. That strategy is quickly becoming outdated. Compared to the newer, more technologically advanced ways of disseminating a message, press releases are fairly boring, and waiting for newspaper journalists to show up is a slow and unreliable practice. Instead, you can put the word out yourself, creating engaging content and putting it out there on social media for the world to see.

Make yourself available
At the same time, dealing with the media is still one element of PR, so you do want to make yourself and your key employees available to the press whenever necessary. HubSpot explains that the journalism process moves at a very fast pace – typically, a reporter will only have a day or less to find sources, contact and interview them and write a story. The press needs to make contacts quickly, so if you want to make yourself available for media exposure that might help your business, you need to put yourself out there. Make yourself easily available online or over the phone.

Embrace multimedia content
You don’t just want to tell people about your business – you want to show them. By creating visual elements such as infographics, you can give people engaging content that will keep them coming back for more. If you have the technical resources, you might even consider producing videos or podcasts. If you can create material that’s entertaining rather than lecturing consumers about your product, you’re likely to keep people intrigued. You want to attract customers, not repel them by producing uninteresting material.

Don’t come off as overly promotional
The worst thing you can do is sound too promotional. If you’re constantly sending out messages to clients and consumers about your business, you will perceived not as a successful businessperson, but as a spammer. Furthermore, this is only a short-term strategy anyway. You don’t want to find one customer here and another there – that’s a quick fix. By taking the long view and using PR to establish yourself as a thought leader, you can do more to encourage long-term growth. Create the impression that you are an authority in your field, a voice of expertise and guidance for others. Then customers will come flocking to you, not the other way around.

Public relations is about much more than sending press releases to newspapers. It’s about crafting an image and cultivating it, using the complete variety of tools that you have at your disposal. What PR strategies work best for you?

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Shana Keith

Shana Keith

Currently Shana is the Public Relations Director for Cox Business, the commercial services side of Cox Communications, a provider of voice, data, video and managed services for 300,000+ businesses, where she leads the national PR strategy and execution of the $1.7B organization.In this role, Shana is responsible for driving positive awareness of Cox Business through traditional media, social media and events collaborating closely with Marketing to generate leads and customer loyalty.
Shana Keith