Even Very Small Businesses Can Benefit From Strategic PR

Creative business corporate work concept: tablet computer PC, modern black glossy touchscreen smartphone with news internet web site, stack of newspapers, cup or mug of fresh coffee and metal ballpoint pen on wooden office table

Publicity is key for any business, and while most companies probably think first about paid advertising, there’s no reason you need to spend money to get the word out about your product and service offerings. Savvy marketers are always looking for ways to get free publicity through third parties, such as news outlets or celebrities. For example, having a popular sports figure wear your company’s clothing or shoes can make your brand seem trendy and relevant. An industry publication mentioning an award or positive survey your product or service received can add credibility and a sense of value. A news story about a grand opening of a new branch of your business increases consumer awareness.

And it’s not just the fact that the publicity is free that makes third-party promotion so desirable. Such publicity conveys an added sense of credibility because it’s neutral. As noted in an article titled “How Public Relations Can Help Your Small Business Grow” for PR Newswire: “When a consumer sees third party coverage of a product or service, it is perceived much differently than a traditional advertisement.  When we see an advertisement, we know the company is trying to sell us something.  When a third party, such as the media, endorses a product or service, the company gains credibility.”

So how does one conjure up such useful third-party publicity? There are several avenues for business owners to generate third-party publicity through self-promotion. Services like HARO and ProfNet* are good examples of tools that even very small businesses can leverage to learn about opportunities for media coverage. The connections made through these channels can help to build an ongoing network of media contacts, assuming the businesses are able to be responsive, thorough, on point and non-promotional.

Social media channels like LinkedIn (B2B primarily), Facebook (B2C primarily) and Twitter (both) can also be used to not only build audience but also identify and connect with reporters and journalists online. Following key journalists in their industries/markets can provide insights into what topics they’re covering and what they’re interested in, which can open the door for online interactions.

As an article for Kabbage states, “Know your target market, and know the target market of the major publications you are looking into. What kind of press does your target market typically listen to? Once you respond to that question, the answer is the best place to start when it comes to generating good media coverage.”

What’s most important is that small businesspeople interested in generating media attention focus on providing content that is valuable for whatever the end user audience might be — e.g. readers or viewers of this content. It’s not about self-promotion; it’s about providing useful information. If you can do this consistently, the reporters will be calling upon you!

*Note: PRNewswire (which operates Profnet) has been purchased by Cision (which owns HARO).

Recommended Reading:

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

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