Like marketing, public relations is often overlooked or put on the back-burner. Sometimes it’s confused or mixed in with marketing. While public relations and marketing are related in some aspects – brand creation, promotion – PR is what helps maintain and represent the values of a company within the brand’s image.
Here are a few public relations tips for the small business owner.
Utilize the Available Tools
Get local listings up and running! Having your company listed on local search sites such as Google Places, Bing Local, Yahoo Local and Yelp is of utmost importance. In order to get more SEO (search engine optimization) value, make sure that all the information – phone number, address, company name – on the listing is correct. If the option is available, also add a short description of your company. This will also help your business be more searchable.
As your company changes or moves, be sure to update the listings. Paid services like Yext can help ease the process of correcting listings by updating all, or a majority, of online listings after you submit the new information once. It’s important to stay relevant and connected to your local market because your local market will be the one to help you reach a larger audience.
Publicize Important Stories
PR is a great way to spread the word about your company or product, especially to the local community. Local news reporters are always looking for stories that interest their readers. New product launches and store openings are among the top stories that should be pushed out to the public. If something important is happening to or for your business, people should know about it.
Notable awards and company recognition from outside corporations and critics prove credibility and reinforce brand quality. The media and consumers should also be aware of any time your company will host events or offer promotions, especially if the events and promotions are open to the public. If your business is partnering or collaborating with other local companies, local consumers should see that teamwork exists within their community. Not only is that beneficial to your business and community, it can also look good on a national level if word gets out.
No business will be taken seriously if every press release, media alert or tweet has a spelling or grammatical error. Although you may have a chance to delete and correct a tweet or Facebook post, once it goes live, there is a very high possibility that someone saw the post before you were able to take it down and make the corrections. Taking a few extra seconds to review and perfect a message is worth so much more than the scrutiny you might receive from a small mistake.
On top of staying away from errors, your stories should have a WOW factor. You’re aiming for reporters and writers to want to take your story and share it with their audiences. You may be excited about the events or changes that your company is going through, but you have to be able to tell the story in a way that will get people to be just as interested and enthusiastic as you.
Befriend the Media
The media can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Some say that all publicity, good or bad, is good publicity, but not when you have the media constantly ripping your company to shreds. Writers and reporters work on strict deadlines. Helping them will help you, too. If they ask for a quote, take a few minutes to give them one. If you don’t have the time to construct a good quote, then give general background information on what they plan to write about. If you’re open with reporters and willing to help, there’s a good chance that they’ll be on your side when you need them to be.