PR is raising your visibility to your awareness, to your target market, in a unique and differentiating manner. It differs from advertising, in that with advertising, most of what you see, whether it’s a commercial on television, or an advertisement in a magazine, that is paid, and 99.9 percent of the time, editorial is not paid for. As a result, it has higher credibility, and it has the opportunity to influence and attract more customers.
A strong PR campaign creates a recognizable message across multiple media platforms. This is especially important for small businesses, which lack the name recognition of larger companies and corporations. Publicizing your business doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are some cost-effective ways of getting your name out there:
- Make sure you’re sending your PR to relevant people, not carpet bombing every possible contact you’ve ever made, and if you’re not sure whether it’s interesting or relevant enough, get an outside opinion from a friendly third party, especially if that person is experienced as a journalist or PR person/agency.
- Submit your company for business awards: From Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list, to Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work,” to the annual Best in Biz Awards, there are countless organizations that publicly recognize exceptional companies and entrepreneurs. Whether they’re through local or national media outlets, professional organizations or industry leading corporations, these business award programs are highly publicized and often attract press attention to their nominees and winners.
- Join online conversations/discussion forums about your industry: Today’s vast array of social media platforms and online groups offer businesses a wealth of opportunities to contribute to the larger conversations happening in their industry.
- Incorporate visuals and video content where possible. This includes content on your website, press releases and social media channels. These visuals will grab more attention and set you apart from the competition.
- Storytelling can help transform your brand’s identity and presence, and create trust from consumers or others in the industry. Think of your brand as a human persona. The more interesting and genuine its personality is, the more trust others will feel toward it.
- Promote your expertise (and that of others in your business): One way to get mentioned in the press is to promote yourself as an expert in your industry, niche, sector, etc. For instance, if you own a small accounting firm, create a list of tips for business owners as they head into tax season.
- Reach out to influencers in your industry: Public relations isn’t just about media coverage, ultimately it’s about building relationships. Do your research and identify bloggers, YouTubers, media outlets and reporters that cover your industry, niche or market and reach out to them.