Deciding to manage PR for your small business is an exciting step, but it can also be daunting and overwhelming.
It’s tricky to know where to begin with small business PR, especially for business owners with no prior experience in public relations.
That’s where I hope this blog will come in handy. The truth is that PR doesn’t have to be a source of stress for small businesses. With some thought and planning, it's entirely possible to manage your own PR, and this blog will help you begin to take the initial steps.
So, grab a coffee and a notebook and let’s get going. Here’s your step by step guide to getting started with PR...
✔️ Decide your objectives Think about your business goals and decide how your PR activities can best support these. Perhaps you want to boost sales or increase brand awareness? Your objectives will impact the PR strategies you adopt going forwards.
✉️ Define your key messages This is where your business mission, vision and values come into play. What do you want your business to be recognised for? What makes you unique? What do you bring to your niche that your competitors don’t? Considering these points will help to shape your PR messaging. Solidify your key messages and formalise them in a document that you can refer back to. This will help to ensure you maintain consistent messaging across the board.
🎯 Identify your targets Think about your target market and how you can best reach them with PR. What publications do they read? Where do they spend time online (i.e. what bloggers/influencers do they follow, what podcasts do they listen to, what websites do they use, etc)? What social networking sites are they on? These will all help you to begin establishing your long term PR plan.
🤝 Build your network This isn’t a quick and simple step. Rather, it’s one that takes place over time. Do some research into your target publications and their relevant writers. Identify the journalists who cover stories within your niche and start to build a distribution list with their names and details. TOP TIP: take a look at where your competitors have secured coverage and make a note of the relevant publications and journalists. Further to this, do some digging into the bloggers and influencers that operate within your niche. Select those that align with your business values and collect their details too. I’d recommend creating a master spreadsheet with different tabs to house all of this information. This will act as your pitching bible going forwards. Another TOP TIP: I will go into this in more detail in future blogs, but it’s important to remember that your distribution list is an ongoing document that requires frequent updating, editing and adapting as your business develops and journalists move around.
🗓 Plan ahead Make yourself a schedule for the year ahead, factoring in holidays and key dates of importance in your sector and location. These can act as hooks and facilitate great PR opportunities (again, more to come on this in future blogs). This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to pursue every single one, but it’s good to have a rough road map to guide you through the coming year. You can also include key dates for your business, for example, any new product launches or marketing campaigns you have coming up. TOP TIP: wall planners are game-changers for this!
These steps are fundamental in laying the foundations for all your forthcoming PR activities. They help form the basis on which your plan and strategy will sit, so it’s best to get these matters ironed out before taking any concrete steps.
Stay tuned for a very special blog coming up next, and don't forget to join The PR Pocketbook community over on Instagram where you can ask any questions and keep up to date on future blogs.
See you there!