Public Relation Strategies for your Business
Public Relation Strategies for your Business
Let's Talk About PR - Public Relation Strategies for your Business
I was recently approached by a business owner looking for advice on her business and Public Relations. She reached out and asked me how to get her business featured in larger publication and news outlets. This is an awesome goal for a business or organization. Being featured in external publications is a fabulous way to increase the credibility and reputation of your business. Not to mention gain new leads, customers and sales. This inspired me to create this article to explore the foundations of public relations for smaller businesses and nonprofit organizations, in order to help you move towards gaining more media attention and reaching your goals.
In this case the goal of the business I spoke to was to be featured in larger online publications.
Secondary goals that also might be included in the list of considerations:
- Improve reputation
- Gain new customers
- Drive new sales
- Gain new opportunities for media coverage
- Improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and discoverability
So let's discuss some of the basics of PR and how a business owner, regardless of size of organization, might implement some strategies to work towards these goals.
What Is Public Relations
Public relations is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization to the public in order to influence their perception. Public relations and publicity differ in that PR is controlled internally, whereas publicity is not controlled and contributed by external parties. - Wikipedia
So for the purpose of this article I am going to focus on how you can control the PR messaging / information that is shared to the public to maximize the benefit to your business growth.
Examples of PR / Public Relations include:
- Publishing a Press Release
- Getting featured in a local newspaper
- Getting interviews on a local radio station
- Being a guest on a Podcast
- Having your business featured in a larger online publication
- Being featured in a Magazine
Who Needs Public Relations?
All businesses need public relations, regardless of their size or industry. According to the Pew Research Center, only 27% of U.S. adults trust the information they find on social media. But 56% trust national news media, and 75% trust local news outlets. Public relations professionals are expert storytellers. - Hubspot
What Do You Need Before PR
As you prepare your business for gaining more positive public attention you do need to have some key elements in place. There are business and digital marketing foundations that are highly suggested you have before embarking on your journey for PR.
In my "5 Weeks to Success" Marketing Strategy Program, PR is one of the last items we discuss. Before PR is:
- Branding - ensuring the brand of your business or organization is clear including your logo, colour scheme, tagline, mission statement.
2. Website - you must have a professional website that is visually appealing and contains well written text copy with clear calls to action. Also to consider on your website is an "In The Media" section where you can feature links to any articles your business is included in. Finally a content marketing strategy should be in place to be continually updating your website either via Blogs, new products, services, or improved content.
3. Social Media - you need consistent optimized profiles on the primary social media platforms for your business including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Twitter is an often overlooked platform - which is actually one of the platforms that will help you gain the most PR exposure. This is because most journalists and news outlets are extremely active on Twitter. Sharing engaging social media content on a regular basis is also important, as well as being engaging yourself.
According to Sprout Social, PR Professionals view LinkedIn, then Twitter, then Facebook as the top social media platforms : A majority, 81%, deemed LinkedIn the most important, followed by Twitter (77%), Instagram (65%) and Facebook (64%).
**an exception may be if you are working on a new business launch in which case including PR efforts as part of your launch can be extremely beneficial and set you up for success right from day one. It is still going to be important to have the tactics above as part of your plan, but you may not quote have everything established yet.**
What Is a Public Relations Strategy?
A PR / Public Relations Strategy is your PLAN to communicate to the public positive messages about your business to help guide public perception and grow and build a positive reputation. A PR strategy includes various mediums to communication your message which may include online, offline, newspapers, radio, magazines, influencers, etc.
Your PR Plan may include:
A press release is a formal announcement telling the world about something new and exciting in your business or organization. An example of a press release can be found here.
Including regular press releases could be part of your strategy plan, for example once per quarter, or it could be that you only create and execute a press release when appropriate.
The benefits of a Press Release are that you have fresh content & news for your website & social media, they are great for SEO, and you can send to a targeted media list in the hopes of creating conversations around your story to potentially be featured in their news publications. They look professional, and help elevate the know like trust factor in your organization.
If you have a budget there are services which will push out your Press Release to mass online media and this may help you gain more attention, amazing backlinks, and featured on Google News.
The winning strategy for a successful Press Release is that it is NEWSWORTHY. Creating a press release for a boring topic will not really gain you any traction or interest from the media.
Another excellent strategy to help generate PR exposure is to aim to be a guest on other podcasts, or to host a podcast yourself. Podcasts allow you to showcase your expertise in your field and give you access to new audiences and means of exposure.
If you are not sure where to start with finding podcasts to be a guest on, I suggest you sign up for Matchmaker.FM it is free and you can set up a profile and explore Podcasts who are looking for guests in your niche.
Facebook also has a few Groups for this purpose.
Media - Local
Starting to gain local media exposure is really as easy as building relationships with the key players at your local newspaper, magazines and radio stations. Connect with them on all socials, tag them when appropriate, and start conversations via email or DMs. You might also consider paying for some advertising locally as this can help build a mutually beneficial relationship. Twitter is a great platform for this. Share and engage with your local reporters and editors, and build a relationship over time.
Media - Nationally
Larger media outlets are much harder to gain exposure on. Expecting your business to be featured in Forbes is not impossible, but might be a little unrealistic in the beginning of your PR journey. If this is one of your goals, then I would certainly suggest a good budget for working with a PR firm with experience in this area.
Other Ways to Generate PR
Other public relations strategies may include Guest Blog Posts, Influencer Marketing, Event Marketing and the list really could go on from there. I will explore Influencer Marketing in future articles because it in itself is a hugely important marketing strategy in 2022.
I Was Featured - Now What?
Congratulations your business was featured in an article in a local newspaper....no what?
Here is an example of one of the articles I have been in that appeared in my local Orangeville Banner:
Now What? Now you maximize the opportunity of this exposure. To do that it is suggested that you share this article on your website to a page "In The Media" this might be in the form of a blog post. Then you can share to all of your social media, driving the traffic back to your page OR the publication, whichever makes the most sense to you. Tag the publication, thank them and the author, and share share share to all of your social media platforms. Lastly you could also include this as part of an email marketing campaign.
I do see many times where a business or organization gets a feature and does not maximize this exposure. This may result in fewer PR features in the future, and a real lost opportunity to improve your reputation, gain more website traffic, social media reach, exposure and followers, and improve your SEO. Lost opportunity = lost sales & revenue.
In closing I hope you have found some information in this post that was helpful to your business or organization and has inspired you to consider PR in a new way. It is a strategy that can absolutely help elevate your business, and if I can be of any assistance in this area please contact me for a FREE discovery call.