Kick off 2015 and boost your business with great PR
Before the turn of the new year, we published an early predictions piece on public relations. Certainly some more skeptical readers may view our predictions as more strategic in nature, so let’s reel it in a little: What are the steps that an organization should take if it’s just now considering a PR program? Using the handful of expert tips below, any business looking to advance its brand reputation or extend its product marketing can immediately initiate its own public relations program.
1. Meet your local media. An effective method for launching a public relations campaign is as simple as introducing yourself and your business or product to your local media. Television, radio, newsprint, magazine and digital media outlets are absolutely everywhere. Start by sending an introductory email to the assignment editor or beat reporter to explain who you are, what you do and how you can help them in the future. If you have a great news story to tell, tell it. If you have a reviewable product you’d be willing to offer for review, offer it. Sometimes, the simplest, most genuine efforts net the best results. For a detailed outline of how to manage media relations, check out Axia Public Relations’ Learn Media Relations from the Media e-book.
2. Be passionate about your product/brand/business. While this may go without saying for most, some business owners could benefit from a reminder that if they’re not passionate about what they do or sell, no one else will be, either. Reflect on the values of your business or product. Take note of the special details that draw clients or customers to you and share each of them as often as you can across all marketing and communications efforts. In fact, InfusionSoft, which designs sales and marketing software for small businesses, completed a survey late last year that proved that when it comes to small businesses, passion drives success. You just never know who may be sitting next to you at Starbuck’s, beside you at the deli counter or even in the restroom! Just about any random meeting could net a new customer, client or an opportunity to share your business and your story, reaching more and more consumers.
3. Offer yourself as a resource. It may be surprising to learn how infrequently business owners think to offer themselves as expert resources. Anyone who habitually watches news shows on any given network will begin to see some of the same experts as guests over and over. News media will leverage experts time and again once they prove they offer solid information and opinions on relevant news topics. Be willing to share useful information and the media will regularly seek to engage you as an expert and go-to resource. Consider reaching out to your local news stations to offer yourself as a resource for topics that they can stash in their virtual Rolodexes for future reference. It costs you nothing, but could ultimately prove invaluable for you and your business.
4. Engage your audiences online. Social media has facilitated a power shift in consumers’ favor. As a result, businesses have a tremendous opportunity to more effectively manage product and brand perception as well as reputations using different social media platforms. Whether your key customers spend more time on Pinterest or Twitter, consider investing in a more personal approach to communicating with your online audiences. It doesn’t take long to pass along interesting and useful news bites, updates on coupons or marketing deals or even simply to say “thank you for your business.” Good public relations strategies focus on listening, understanding and responding. Direct consumer contact helps businesses to better understand what people care about and what engages and interests them, and it also makes business interactions more personal. Respond to customers – even if they have complaints – and do so with care, understanding and appreciation for their business. People appreciate being appreciated and, more importantly, they appreciate responses.
5. Consult with a PR pro. If you don’t feel comfortable executing any of the above tactics on your own, we recommend consulting a public relations professional for more personalized advice. Whether you contact a PR firm, a self-employed PR pro or even a close friend with PR experience, consider scheduling a coffee or lunch meeting during which you can discuss your overall goals and get a few tips on how to tackle your own customized PR program. Axia, for example, frequently meets with local business owners not only to learn more about our community and who’s in it, but also to build that community up. If we all help one another, everyone wins.
For more tips on getting the most out of your PR dollar, download Axia’s e-book Maximizing Your Public Relations Investment.
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