How Can PR Benefit Your Small Business?
By Emma Kelly, owner of Elevate PR
More small business owners are realising the need to include PR in their overall business strategy and marketing mix. Embarking on a PR strategy does not have to be a daunting experience. Indeed, when planned correctly in partnership with the right agency, it can be very rewarding. Before approaching a PR agency, here are some things to think about:
1. What do you want to achieve by engaging in PR?
A PR strategy should always begin with the following questions in mind: Why you want to do PR and what do you hope to achieve from the campaign? Establishing realistic objectives from the outset will ensure both sides understand what success looks like from the beginning.
2. Know your business
It may sound obvious but really knowing your business or product from all angles is crucial. What do you think about your business or product? What does it mean to your customers? How would they review your product / service? Really understanding what your business means to your customer will help you tailor your messages for them and speak in a language they understand and want to listen to.
3. Define your key messages
Decide on the five most important messages you want to get across to consumers through the PR campaign. Keep them concise and to the point. The PR agency you appoint will help you define the campaign messages and should include them in all press materials and interactions with the media.
4. What’s your story?
Think like a journalist and think about why your product / service is newsworthy and will be of interest? Why will people want to read about it? Do you offer something exclusive to consumers? Do you have interesting insights, data or statistics that could create a strong news story?
5. Understand your target market
Really understand who your existing and potential customers are. Delve a little deeper and find out which papers they read, which radio programmes they listen to and which TV programmes they watch.
6. Choose a confident and media savvy spokesperson
Depending on the type of PR campaign you are undertaking, having a confident and media savvy spokesperson in place is essential. The PR agency can arrange for media training for spokespeople to help them get the key campaign messages across during interviews and, if issues management is part of the campaign, help them to answer difficult questions effectively.
7. Embrace social media
Social media is just another channel to speak to consumers and small businesses should not be afraid to embrace it. Often times it is a more cost effective way of targeting and engaging with customers in a less formal language. The key to an effective social media campaign is to choose the platform that is right for you and incorporate a social media plan into your overall strategy. Your PR agency can put a content calendar in place that fits with the tone of voice and personality of your business.
8. End of campaign
Ensure that you schedule a review meeting with the PR agency to discuss activity that took place during the campaign and to measure results against the objectives set from the beginning. This is also a good time to discuss challenges and learnings to help both sides work even better going forward.