Even without an enormous budget, small businesses can still make a splash with strategic public relations. PR is necessary for the positive reception of any business, so don’t skip this vital step and be sure to hire a professional if this is unchartered territory for you.
Public relations is all about the public, or target consumers’, view of a brand. Having a well thought out PR strategy can spell out success for a brand with a forward thinking vision. We’ve compiled a list of best practices for PR for small businesses.
Know Your Audience
Market research will tell a business owner a lot about how to set about reaching their audience. Knowing the target audience, what they engage with, and what they dislike is beneficial as it prevents the business from wasting time and money on advertising or efforts that will go unnoticed.
Don’t Start Off Too Big
One common mistake that brands of any size make when first starting out is to bite off more than they can chew. This includes public relations efforts. If a company spends all of its resources on reaching a huge target market with an all-out PR blitz, do they have the infrastructure to deal with the sudden influx of hopeful customers?
There aren’t many setbacks that deal a bigger blow than a brand unraveling due to inability to fulfill orders and meet demand in the early going. Customers, who may already be skeptical of a newer or smaller brand, are not likely to return if they have a poor experience. Sure, some may chalk it up to growing pains and return for another try later, but their level of trust is vastly diminished.
For this reason, start PR efforts small. Stick to local media and focus on building community engagement. Treat each customer like an individual, and don’t take on more business than you can handle initially. Allow the brand to grow in small, manageable increments.
Spend Time Building Relationships
Public relations is all about relationships. Building positive professional relationships with the media, with influencers, and even with customers is a natural way to give the business staying power.
And remember: relationships are a two-way street. Building a relationship only when you need a press release run or an interview granted won’t be beneficial in the long run. Instead, build relationships authentically. Get involved in the local community. Add value to each relationship, rather than simply focusing on promoting and selling.
Give It Time
Finally, good PR takes time. Remember, no one likes to see a business unravel quickly. It’s better to start small and slow rather than seek explosive growth right off the bat. Take the time to build relationships with the public and give each initiative enough time to take root and work. Not everything will be an overnight success.
Of course, keep track of key performance indicators (KPIs) throughout each PR initiative to ensure that it’s a worthwhile investment of time and money. It’s ok if something doesn’t work out, but know when to cut the cord and when to keep kicking.
Public relations is a professional practice that is beneficial and necessary for every business, big or small. Knowing how to utilize PR to best help your business or hiring a PR professional to do so will help grow and build loyalty to any business or brand.
About Ronn Torossian
Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations. He is an experienced leader in the public relations industry with over 20 years of experience. Ronn Torossian has been named as Public Relations executive of the year by the American Business Awards, and has run countless award-winning Public Relations programs.