Ok…so today you have to train a new employee, do the banking, work out why the new accounting program is not doing what it said it would, dealing with clients, posting on your Facebook page, managing your family….Whew!
So much to do when you run your own business, especially if you are the magic. Chances are you probably are not spending as much time on promoting your business as you could be. Or you are just not sure which approach to take – there are SO many to choose from.
And now, here is this person telling you that you should be learning how to do your own PR! Really, more work?
But doing your own PR is really not as hard as it sounds. Once you have the basics under control, PR is a very powerful tool. Let’s face it, if you can string some words together, you can write a media release, if you can pick up the phone to talk to a prospective customer, you can ring a journalist, if you have ever sat through a job interview, you have the communication skills to be interviewed by a journalist…Got it? You can do this.
Why should you be considering public relations as a marketing strategy? Because it could be worth thousands of dollars of FREE advertising for your business. When you buy an ad in a paper, radio, TV, there is a dollar value attached to that space/time.
What does that mean? Your quarter page story on page five of the local paper is worth $5,000 in advertising space (you got it for free). Your three minute story on A Current Affair is worth over $150,000. Free advertising. When people see your story in the media, it is like someone else saying ‘hey, check out this business, they are awesome.’ Whereas advertising is YOU saying you are awesome and we are all rather sick of people blowing their own horn.
If you do play your cards right – learn how to find newsworthy stories in your business (you have them), how to write a compelling media release, and find media contacts - a world full of opportunities will open up for you.
Using public relations as a marketing strategy does not always pay off – a journalist can never guarantee a story will run, but when it does run, the returns can be incredible.
Here are some tips on how to DIY PR:
Start small – try your local paper with a local news angle. Local papers are great place to cut your PR teeth; comment on a local issue that impacts small business or how the problem your business solves for locals.
Stay away from mass distribution – make your approach personal. Go to the effort to find out the journalist’s name and sent a personal email.
Persistence – follow up your email with a phone call. If you leave a message, call back (just don’t be a pest). If the journalist does not get back to you, chances are they are not interested. Try again next month with a different story angle.