There are many facets to public relations (PR) and small businesses are not exempt from any of them. PR for business may include anything from public speaking to newspaper articles and community participation to media communication.
It’s more than just printed articles, advertising and marketing. PR for business focuses on building relationships and developing a strong, positive image. The key to small business PR is consistency. Messages must be developed carefully and in a timely fashion. Here are some basic rules of PR that apply to small businesses:
Identify the Audience. One of the most important rules of PR is to know who you are communicating with. Before releasing any type of information, article or statement to the public, it is important to be aware of who is in the audience. The audience can typically be broken down and defined in smaller subgroups.
Sometimes the audience might be existing customers, or it might include members of the media, potential customers, or employees and vendors. No matter who is in the audience, small business PR must be appropriate for each member.
Develop a Plan. For small business PR, a plan need not be terribly complex. In fact, it can be broken down into these three steps:
- Objectives – Determine what you want to do and set goals for your small business.
- Positioning – Determine what type of image you want to uphold in the community (i.e. as a retailer with great customer service, or as a retailer with the lowest prices in town).
- Key Messages – Determine the most important and unique facets of your business.
These three simple steps will set you up to succeed when it comes to PR for business. You can build unique strategies and reach target audiences with these three steps.
Get to Know the Local Media. The local media can be your best friend or worst nightmare when it comes to small business PR. To get started on the right foot, it’s important to meet and greet reporters and writers in town. Members of the media tend to be extremely well-connected in the local community; therefore, building relationships with them is a starting point to generate energy and enthusiasm for your small business.
Get Involved in the Community. The more interaction you have with community members, the better our PR for business will be. Community involvement might include participating in volunteerism, joining a club or committee, and being active in local politics. Community involvement may well be one of the most important rules of PR for small business. A small business owner can establish a great deal of credibility by becoming active and visible in the public eye. The best part about community involvement is that there is no cost to the business owner; it simply takes an investment of time.
Small business PR is something that will need continual attention for many years to come. As the demographics, industries and demands in your community change, so will your small business PR initiatives. However, with the right time and dedication, investing in small business PR will generate significant returns at no financial cost to your company.