As small business owners we try our best to manage everything from planning to execution and squeeze our shoestring budgets as far as they will go in order to find new opportunities for our brands.
Public relations for small business are powerful because it helps you get more exposure and it places you in front of your target audience.
Some people think of PR as ‘free advertising’ which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Building relationships with the right people and organisations is time consuming so if you need quicker results a PR agency is the best way to go (they do cost $$$). Most bloggers and influencers now charge for reviews, promoted posts and featured posts so PR is definitely not free.
PR however is very important for any brand, and for numerous reasons.
- To raise awareness. People trust established brands. One way to make your business known and compete with established brands is to send out your message by a third party such as a popular magazine in your industry, a high-traffic website, a respected influencer or social media superstar.
- Build credibility. Unlike advertising, a magazine mention of your product or a product review is not a direct sell so it comes out as a recommendation from a person that could be an authority in your niche like a celebrity beauty blogger with thousands of followers.
- Tailors information. Every business has its unique brand message. People adore brands that have a compelling or relatable story so make sure that you carry yours wholeheartedly at every function you go to because it is what makes people remember you.
- Helps manage reputation. Having trusted connections in the media is not always about free marketing but also reputation management. In your business journey, you will encounter (but I hope you don’t) dreadful situations like advertising gone wrong or unsatisfied customers lashing out on social media about how bad your product is. In times like these, media connections can help you repair the damage through a press release or similar means.
- Helps shape a likable image. Customers love friendly and community-engaged brands. By maintaining a constant presence in your industry or in front your customers’ eyes, you are creating a strong connection with your audience.
- Cost-effective. Paying for a magazine spread is not a bad idea if you have the budget for it. However, if you are on a tight budget, having friends in the right places can get you a full feature or an article mention on the same publication without paying loads of cash.
- Promote brand values. You can use PR to send out positive messages to your target audience that are in line with your brand image by using the language and ideas that your target customers respond to more positively.
- Strengthens community relations. When you make new connections, you are building ties with the local market by attending functions, joining groups, donating time to charity or causes related to your business. Being an active member of a community establishes your credibility with peers, consumers, and editorial contacts.
- Boost your niche authority. Getting featured on media outlets may come out as simple to many but for a business owner, the effect could be massively beneficial especially if you are trying to own a niche.
- Know your competition up-close and personal. You are not the only one who spends time in making new connections. It’s one way of knowing what your competitors are up to, which gives you clues how to keep up with them.
PR is not free in the sense that it requires time and effort in making new connections. It may seem labor intensive but if your business does this right, it will help your company look more likeable, influential, and successful.