Thursday, December 20, 2012

PR Tips for Small Business

Whether you are a service-based small business, one that supplies a product or even delivers both, why not plan to kick-start 2013 with some publicity and promotion on your offering? 

PR for small businessI recently met with Wendy McWilliams, who has worked in the field of public relations for more than twenty years. Her company, WMC Public Relations, has won major PR contracts with various local government councils, and also advises a large portfolio of SME's on how they can gain promotional traction for their business in their local press and media. I asked her for some PR tips and advice that would be suitable for small business and this is what she suggested ........

The first thing to note is that if you want other people to talk about you, your company and your products then what you give them has to be newsworthy. Your own social media sites are where you can plug your produc -  but newspapers, magazines/trade journals, blogs, television, radio and online publications/websites want something that will interest their audiences.
Newsworthy Announcements

So what can you talk about? Here are twelve simple ideas that Wendy suggested as potentially suitable for small business ....:

  • Milestones: First or 50th anniversary, 1000th customer, 1 millionth widget, 20th franchise sold, etc.
  • Moved to new premises, opened branch offices, 6-star green rating, etc.
  • Awards won
  • Senior appointments
  • New equipment and new technology
  • Export achievements
  • New products
  • White papers & technical how-to sheets
  • Market analysis that may be controversial or alternative to general consensus.
  • Holding a special event
  • Case studies where one of your customers has achieved significant results
  • A major sponsorship - for example of your local football or cricket club
Which publicity medium should you select?

Once you have worked out what news you want to disseminate, you then need to decide who you will give it to. Is it of major national significance? If not, it may be suitable for an industry magazine or the local newspaper? Check to see what issues the media outlet is covering before you contact them so that you are familiar with their writing style and topics covered.

Now you are ready to write a media release and/or letter to the editor. Make sure you cover the 5 Ws: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. Keep it punchy and if you want to provide more detailed background information, provide a hyperlink to a website where the material is easily viewed.
Before you send it off, make sure you have (or can provide quickly) a good quality photograph to accompany your story - as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words
Is PR for you?

So, if you're a small business owner who thinks that PR is just for the big corporate business, then think again ...... As Wendy McWilliams says, increasingly short-staffed media want news and human interest stories; and if you can tell a story that has both of these ingredients then why wouldn't they consider yours ......... And if you're still unsure about whether PR is for you, ask yourself what have you got to lose versus what do you stand to gain by giving it a go?

You might also be interested in having a look at Marketing Fundamentals for Small Business

Brian Carroll is the founder of Performance Development, a corporate training company based in Melbourne that specialises in management skills training, leadership development and executive coaching.