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Why Small Businesses Should Absolutely Do Their Own PR

By: SmallBizClub

 

Why SBs Should Do Their Own PR

PR isn’t usually something many small businesses focus on nowadays. It may be because it’s often thought of as something handled by an external agency, a professional PR firm filled with people who have the gift of working media magic.

Now, generally speaking, hiring such people to do your PR couldn’t hurt you and can often help. But of course, that’s only if your wallet can take it. Most small business owners have limited funds and doubt their abilities to tap into the media mana flow PR wizards find with ease.

The result? All too often, it’s disenchantment with the whole concept.

It should be the other way, though. Small business owners should have more enthusiasm for public relations. After all, PR is basically your best and cheapest alternative to the big ad campaign if you have a small business. It can be a great tool for growth if it’s done right—and contrary to what most people think, it can be done right on a budget.

This doesn’t mean that it demands no resources from the small business in exchange. What it sacrifices in monetary costs it collects in time and effort. After all, this is the sort of PR that the small business owner will usually have to do himself.

Now wait a minute, you might say. What about your inability to tap into the media mana we mentioned earlier?

The thing is, you can actually learn to do it. In fact, you should be the one who does it for several reasons:

  1. You know your company and vision better than anyone else. You will be better able to express and communicate its story than any other could.
  2. The fact that you are at the center of the story makes you a more appealing source of information for many journalists. Having your story told by a PR firm makes it secondhand, but if you tell the story yourself, you invest it with the credibility of a source who has experienced it all firsthand. It emphasizes the personal side of the story, and this is something a lot of the PR for big companies misses out on.
  3. If you do your own PR, you naturally build up your own contact list. This list will always be yours, as opposed to the contact lists used by PR agencies—they keep those for themselves.

Of course, it’s hard work. You have to draft all your press releases yourself, contact (and often almost-stalk) journalists yourself, and formulate PR strategies yourself. But it’s far from impossible.

There are many tools available now that make it easier for small business owners to handle things like these with only minimal help or help from their assistants. Sites like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) make it easier to find journalists looking for data on stories related to yours, for instance. You can try the following things too:

  1. Build up a list of other free tools aside from HARO. Off the bat, services like HYOPR and HootSuite should be included in your arsenal.
  2. Get on LinkedIn. This is one of the best ways to contact journalists and other media personnel via your connections—and it lets them see who you are at a glance.
  3. Use your social media accounts to follow relevant journalists now. Retweet and comment on things they post now. That way, when you do have something to bring to their attention later, you already have something of a relationship with them.
  4. Use Google Alerts to stay abreast of the latest news in your field. Remember: this means keeping an eye on anything that might relate to the competition too.

What’s important is that you’re constantly attuned to the PR opportunities that may arise at any moment. Watch the news in your field, learn to notice the journalists who often report or write about things that can be related to your business, and work constantly on your business’s story. You can even work on bettering that story by doing something new with your business that can be related to current events! At the end of the day, media magic can be spun out of no more than a good tale, a sense of timing, and a lot of hustle.

Frederik VincxAuthor: Frederik Vincx is the design co-founder of Prezly, a story management tool, helping PR teams rock with innovative tools. Frederik helps communication teams improve workflow. He manages content at the Prezly site related to productivity and better PR practices.

Published: July 7, 2016
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SmallBizClub.com is dedicated to providing small businesses and entrepreneurs the information and resources they need to start, run, and grow their businesses. The publication was founded by successful entrepreneur and NFL Hall of Fame QB Fran Tarkenton. We bring you the most insightful thinking from industry leaders, veteran business owners, and fellow entrepreneurs. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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