PR Techniques to Grow Your Business
PR is everything you say … everything you do and everything people say about you. But for most small businesses, they are stumped about how to actually use PR to get the attention they desire and need to grow their businesses. And then there is the perennial challenge in business – having the budget to get someone to help you.
What if I gave you some tips on how you can do your own PR without it costing a mint? Some simple tools and ideas you can use to help stand out and be noticed?
I picked up many of these tools working in the not for profit world. You learn how to do a lot with less when you are reliant on funding and have a limited (if non-existent budget).
It is important to realise PR is so much more than seeing your name in the paper or your face on TV. Mainstream media is just ONE PR tool you can use. Never put your eggs in one basket. That is where picking the right one comes down to knowing (really knowing) your target audience – what they read, watch and listen to – is crucial. To get the max impact laser focused on your avatar’s pain points.
I know we live in an age where we want instant results and want to be overnight successes, but good quality PR, relationships build on trust and integrity take time.
Some of these tips are oldies, but goodies and the others are tapping into new media.
1. Media releases
The ultimate journalist bait. If you have a great story, you should be sharing it and the media is a great way to get third party credibility. A media release (press release, presser, news release) is a snapshot of your story that tells the journalist in 400 words or less the most important facts about what you are doing. It can be a new product release, a milestone, a success story, your slant of something that is already part of the news cycle. The important thing is not to waffle on – you have a short space of time to get the journalist’s attention. Make sure it is full of quotes, facts and put the most important news at the top. Oh … and then send it … and then follow it up.
2. Networking, speaking and workshops
If you have a business that deals in services, you can tap into the workshops to share your knowledge. Workshops are a great tool to build your profile and your standing as the go-to person for that topic. Throw into the mix speaking gigs and you have a powerful combination that will help cement you as someone who knows their stuff. This is where networking events come in – a two prong approach. Attending networking events is an awesome way to connect with your local business community, establishing yourself in your niche. It is important to go with a spirit of giving rather than seeing what you can get out of it. PR is all about relationships and networking is the ideal platform to build these.
3. Social media
What an incredible resource! Facebook. LinkedIn, Instagram. Snapchat. YouTube. Twitter. Pinterest. All powerful tools to connect you with the people who need and want your product or service. What I have learnt over the years is you do not have to be slick or uber experienced to use these platforms to make a significant impact. Here is what works well – BE YOURSELF! People don’t do business with businesses; they do business with other people. When people know, like and trust you, they will want to do business with you. Also be helpful – share your best tips and strategies because while some will work out how to do it themselves, most others want someone to do it for them.
4. Online tools – Media Connections and Sourcebottle
These are the two best tools I have found (and use) for connecting my client’s stories with hungry journalists, bloggers and podcasters. Media Connections (www.mediaconnections.com.au) was founded by Linda Reed-Enever. There is a quarterly fee (about $100), but it gives you access to media callouts (journalist putting out calls for help with stories), your own newsroom and a swag of really useful resources from media release templates to publishing your own articles. Sourcebottle (www.sourcebottle.com) was created by Bec Derrington. It is a free resource you can subscribe to that drops into your inbox two to three times a day callouts from the media, bloggers, book publishers, people looking for prizes and you can respond to.
5. Google Alerts
If you are perpetually stumped trying to figure out what to write about for all this publicity you want, then Google Alerts is a great tool to monitor what is happening in your space (https://www.google.com/alerts). It is also useful to keep track of when your business is mentioned.
Of course, there are so many other great PR tools you can tap into. I find the best ones is to be persistent and consistent with spreading your message ... and it all starts with a plan. Take the time to work out what you want, how you are going to get it and who can help you. Then stick with it.
About the contributor:
From her first foray into the world of journalism at 15, Annette Densham was hooked on storytelling with purpose. A weaver of words and a hoarder of knowledge, Annette has written copy for websites, speeches, marketing and presentations and topics from forklifts to tax, to theatre lights and sport, to senior issues and health … she knows what makes news. With a 30 plus year career in newspapers, magazines and corporate communications, this ex journo now uses her skills to teach small business folks how to use their stories to connect with the world. Website: