Public Relations Tactics for Small Business Owners or Startups

Public Relations, at its center, is a form of communication between a business and its customers or partners. Public relations are commonly associated with large corporations or brands that have an image to maintain. However, PR for smaller businesses is not unheard of.

Do Startups or Small Businesses need PR?

Smaller businesses tend to have budget or resource limitations, which may make PR a secondary concern. PR is closely associated with brand awareness, a consistent brand image, and maintaining a good reputation. A small business owner may not want to focus on these things. However, PR for a smaller business could look very different from PR for a larger business. A smaller business may not have the need for uniformity of voice in their content, for instance, but by using relevant PR tactics, they can grow their business.

Public Relations Strategies for Small Businesses

Instead of following PR tactics that work for bigger businesses with more funds, a small business can implement the following PR tactics:

Know the Target Demographic

In order to effectively communicate with its audience, a business should know their audience. Knowing the demographic the business caters to, and what that demographic needs, is essential for good communication between the two parties. If the startup or small business caters to other businesses, then the PR should be B2B oriented. In this case,the focus of the PR should be to understand what the other business’ needs or goals are, and to promote the startup as capable of producing those outcomes. On the other hand, if the business is selling to the public at large, the PR campaign will be focused on B2C communication.

Focus on Organization and Planning

Before a small business dives deep into its PR campaign, it should define the goals they want to achieve, what metrics they will use to measure their success, when the PR campaign will launch, and what events their campaign should cover. 

Community Engagement and Testimonials

A small business can reach out to its local customers by participating in community events. By sponsoring or participating in events such as fairs, celebrations, or festivals, they can interact with their customers and demonstrate the value of their products or services. A small business should also encourage their customers to leave testimonials. Most people check the reviews of a product before purchasing it. By creating positive experiences for customers, and prompting them to write a positive review, a business can build a good reputation.

Research the Competition

To identify the PR tactics that will work for a small business owner in a particular industry, those owners should research the PR strategy that their competitors are putting out. Competition research will give the business a better idea regarding the tactics that work and the tactics that do not.

Focus on Content rather than Ads

The modern audience seems aware of most PR tactics. What used to work a few decades ago is now met with disdain. Using cliché sale tactics may backfire on a small business, because their customers may interpret such tactics as disingenuous. A small business can benefit by being sincere and honest in their PR strategy.

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