6 Steps to Successful Small Business PR

Most of us that have a small business look at PR with either a “I can’t afford a PR firm” or “Why do I need PR in first place” attitude. I am here to show that every business needs some type of PR to make their business a success. It all starts with a plan….

Step 1 – Get Your Action Plan Together

Your PR Action Plan will contain information unique to your business, but here is what you’ll want to include:

– Media venues you’d like to pursue for a story

– Marketing Messages that are short and tell your story

– Events You Are going to be speaking at or have a booth there to promote

– Newsworthy Stuff About Your Firm

– Any Awards you have won and any partners that might be important

– Timeline for Execution

Step 2 – Identify Your Targets

Once you have a PR Plan in place, it’s time to get smart with a good dose of research. In this day and age, the media are constantly bombarded with hundreds of emails, faxes and phone calls. The challenge for you is figuring out how to stand out and get noticed. Before pitching any media member or sending out a single press release, ask yourself:

“œWhy is this reporter going to care about this particular story? Is it really newsworthy?”

Develop a list of media venues and a targeted list of people that are interested or report on your space. By conducting the appropriate research upfront, you’ll avoid wasting time, money and effort later on. Plus, you’ll create valuable relationships with key media members who can help publicize your business.

Step 3 – Build Your Story Idea Library

Once you have your plan in place and know who you are going to target, you really to create a list of story ideas and a library that gives you a schedule of news that keeps the buzz and momentum going about your company. Startup Nation has a great list of 5 Ways to Create Your Own News. Here they are:

1. Take part in a community event, or create your own. Give something back and encourage others to do the same.
2. Create a brief report or “˜top 10 list’ related to a big trend in your industry that will help others solve a problem. Provide your expertise without asking for anything in return.
3. Submit an opinion piece to your local newspaper about a current news item. This can help build awareness for your business.
4. Give a presentation at a local community college, business group or other organization where your target audience attends. Provide valuable information without giving a sales-pitch and invite pertinent reporters. You’ll establish yourself as an expert and meet potential new customers while increasing your chances of obtaining media coverage.
5. Find success stories and promote them.

Step 4 – Create a Media Kit

You have probably heard of one, but what the heck is one and what is in it?

It is a package of information that allows reporters to get the data they need about your business quickly and easily. You want to include facts about the business, business background, bios and news about the company.

Don’t forget to have an online version so that reporters can access the information at all times to meet tight deadlines. This will help you save time and money in printing and shipping fees.

Step 5 – Generate a few Press Releases

You will want to get started writing a few press releases to get the momentum going. Startup Nation has a great write up on places to publish your press releases and tips on writing them. As they state “it should include some kind of business news, announcement or event that you send to targeted media members, partners, customers, investors, sponsors, and other pertinent people. It should be short, truthful, interesting, and easy-to-read.

I have found that it is good to maybe find a freelance writer to help you craft it. This is because you might not be a good a writer as you think you are or don’t have enough time to really write something from the outside looking in.

Another idea is to set up your web site to have your press releases and news in an RSS feed so people can subscribe to in a feed reader and have it delivered directly to them. Just another channel, but a great one nonetheless.

Step 6 – Get Out There and Start Talking

So you have your plan, your target list, your media kit and a few press releases. So what’s next? Get out there and start talking to people. Always be networking to find new resources for your press releases and most importantly, always be available. Being available to answer questions or provide a quick quote when a reporter is on a deadline can get you press you never even expected.