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Public Relations for the Small Business

  • Posted December 3, 2006
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In my discussions with many entrepreneurs, the question inevitably arises of ”why
should a story on my business in the local media matter?” It is a valid question.
Most think of dealing with the media and public relations as in the realm of big
corporations and politicians. The fact is public relations has a very commercial
application. When promoting your business, you need to consider all the possible
marketing methods and advertising efforts.

In any successful organization, PR is in fact an integral part of the marketing mix.
Imagine if the local newspaper or radio station offered you a free advertisement or
even a series of free advertising. What effect could that have on your marketing
efforts?

Properly developed media relations and a well crafted story can do the same!

Left with that thought, what is a small business owner to do? How can you get your
business in the news? With some careful thought on how you can apply a few
suggestions to your situation, here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Ever made a mistake? Of course you have! Tell the world about it and how you
    overcame it. If it’s timely enough, it may make the news and position yourself in a
    light with which most can relate. If you don’t feel comfortable talking about your
    mistakes, talk about some of the common mistakes made in your industry or those
    made by your customers. Be certain not to be too self-serving however. You run
    the risk that your story will be dropped like a hot potato.
  • Has your business or someone in your organization backed a charity or
    community initiative recently? If you put the focus on the initiative and what it’s
    looking to achieve, the indirect attention your company recieves as a backer of this
    cause could mean very direct and positive publicity.
  • What’s currently going on in pop culture or even in the news? Think carefully.
    Is there anywhere or any how that you could provide your two cents as an expert? If your input is credible enough or provides input that is a little off the wall, you may
    get yourself posted in the media’s rolodex or regularly sought experts. I have seen
    numerous examples of professionals who have built a practice from the publicity
    they gain by being regularly in the news.
  • The options really are endless when it comes to getting your small business in the
    news. The key to success is formulating a real story. Whatever you try to
    formulate and present to the media in gaining publicity, approach your strategy
    from the angle of ”What would make me stop and watch this on the 6 o’clock
    news?”.

    Most importantly, understand that this is not a chance to directly sell but rather, a
    chance to profile.

    Mark Buzan is the owner of Action Strategies: http://www.action-strategies.ca, a public
    affairs & marketing communications consultancy. You can subscribe now to his
    monthly PR tips newsletter by visiting and dropping down the “newsletter” menu. You
    can also subscribe to his RSS feed on his blog: http://actionstrategies.blogspot.com.

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    • Posted On December 3, 2006
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