PR, or public relations, is all about the way a business communicates with the general public, promotes itself, and tries to build a positive public image and reputation.
The way a business is represented across all forms of media has a massive impact on how consumers perceive it, so ultimately the better your PR the more successful your business is likely to be.
So, whether you’re a veteran small business owner or you’re just starting out, there’s no time like the present to maximise your PR efforts and the good news is it doesn’t have to involve hiring a pricey agency, there are plenty of tactics you can employ yourself.
Here at takepayments, we know business owners have a million and one things on their plate, so we’ve taken the hassle out of it and put together 10 tips for doing your own PR to set you up for success.
Media publications can’t write about your business unless you make all the information they need about you super simple to find.
An easy yet often overlooked way to ensure this is never an issue for you is to create an ‘Press’ page on your website, and include:
As a business owner there’s no doubt you’re extremely clued up on the ins and outs of your industry and products and this is a huge tool in your PR armoury.
Put yourself out there to the likes of media outlets, bloggers or reputable sources of information as an expert in your field, build relationships, and in time you’ll be viewed as a trusted source when matters relating to your industry arise.
A great way to achieve this credibility is by creating your own blog (find out why they’re so useful here), or if you’re short on time use LinkedIn’s Pulse news platform - it’s free to use for anyone with a profile.
If your name, business, or blog appears in articles as an information source or as someone qualified to comment on the latest news, this will work wonders for your public image.
If you’re hoping to get an article written about your exciting new business it might be tempting to draft up an email and send it to each and every member of the press you can find details on.
Don’t. Spamming writers like this with stock messages is extremely unlikely to be effective, after all, they’ll receive 100s of messages like this each day.
To stand out from the crowd you need to be authentic, so spend some time researching writers who cover matters relating to your industry or have a known interest in it, and might therefore realistically cover your business. Then, tailor and personalise your emails accordingly to boost your chances of being noticed.
The old saying ‘it’s not what you know it’s who you know’ is particularly apt in the world of PR, so networking and building bonds will serve you well.
Make the time to be present at the likes of industry conferences, festivals, exhibitions, and so on, and try and get to know members of the press personally and develop a relationship.
Remember, don’t upfront ask for some form of press coverage right off the bat, you need to play the long game for this to work.
Instead, strike up a meaningful conversation, ask questions, and lay the groundwork, in time you can send them updates and eventually the coverage will come naturally when it’s appropriate
This way, the author’s comprehensive knowledge of your business is likely to make their content extra valuable.
Why waste precious time waiting on someone to write an article on you when you can be a newsmaker and PR machine yourself?
Get your business out there and position yourself as an authority in your sector by becoming a guest writer. Do your homework and research industry-related blogs, publications and forums that accept outside writers and offer up your services.
Here are our top tips for nailing your article:
On the subject of becoming a self-made newsmaker, why not publish your own press releases? That way the information being shared about your business is controlled by you, on your watch, and without room for error.
You could write a release about a new product, event you’re holding, store revamp, or anything else of interest.
There are plenty of super useful and cost-effective tools available on the market (like PR Newswire and PRWeb) to help with publishing press releases if you’re not confident tackling it independently too.
Get creative and think of things your business can do which would be considered newsworthy, for example:
Remember, some press outlets schedule their content weeks in advance, so don’t forget to give them plenty of notice in order for your efforts to be effective.
Who do you follow on social media for nuggets of advice, news, or guidance relating to your business?
Whoever they are, they’ve established themselves as thought leaders in your industry and to gain credibility you need to do the same.
Try to engage with these people across your social platforms - particularly Twitter and LinkedIn - to boost your visibility with your target audience and build connections that will likely come in handy down the line.
Top tip: try to engage with people who post regularly on their feeds, if they’re scarcely active it’ll make getting a comment back or mention especially difficult.
How are other businesses in your industry building their public image and reputation? What tactics outside of your industry are working well? What does your target audience want and find useful? Where do they spend most of their time?
Answer these questions to help guide your efforts. For example, if your target audience largely finds out about brands and products on social media then focus your time fine-tuning your feeds.
While your business website and social feeds might be considered marketing they also have a role in PR as it all plays a part in how the general public views your business, so they need to be on their A-game too to bolster your efforts.
There are loads of elements involved in your online presence, so for comprehensive guides telling you everything you need to know check out:
For heaps more useful resources designed to help small businesses thrive head to our jam-packed blog.