PR Tips For Small Businesses

By John Lindo

It’s no secret that small businesses often lack the budget for large-scale marketing campaigns. When trying to get your business off the ground, you need to get your name out there, but running ads and printing brochures can often be very costly. So how can you create a buzz about your business without spending a small fortune?

It’s simple – Public Relations.

Well… it isn’t always that simple. With an over-crowded media stage, making your story stand out can definitely be a challenge.

But I do have some tips for small business owners who want to get noticed by the media.

Find a hook. Unlike marketing, PR isn’t all about you. It’s about telling a story. People don’t read the media to read pages and pages of ads and propaganda. They want to read compelling stories, so be sure to tell yours in an interesting way. How do you make people’s lives easier? What do you do to help your community? What can you teach people?

Target your audience. You can send your press release out to hundreds, even thousands of outlets, but that can be costly and time-consuming—as an entrepreneur, resources are likely already pretty tight. So take the time to research different media outlets and figure out which one best matches your product or service and target them specifically. Be sure to research the proper editorial contact, as well. And finally, tailor your communication to show that you’ve done your homework (i.e. “I noticed your recent story on XYZ. I think I have something you might also be interested in writing about…”).

Follow up. It’s easy to send out a release via email and forget about it. But following up a few days later with a phone call can often be very effective. Ask the reporter if they’ve received your release and let them know that you’re available to answer any questions they may have. This will also help you build relationships with different journalists.

Use social media. There are so many great tools out there to help you connect with potential clients, as well as media sources. Utilize them to build relationships in addition to promoting your business. Just remember, social media is about two-way conversation. Don’t just talk about yourself and your business. Connect with people, listen and offer meaningful content.

These are some simple tips to help you get your voice heard. It may take some time, but when your story makes it into the paper, it will be well worth the effort.

John Lindo is the Founder of Razor Voice Inc., a Public Relations agency based in the GTA. During his first 10 years in the PR industry, John oversaw the communications departments at both Bridgestone Canada and Nissan Canada.

By Adam

October 24, 2011