If you’re new to PR, public relations for small businesses is all about building your reputation. It’s the result of what you do and say, and what others say about you. PR establishes credibility and generates awareness outside your limited inner circle so that people can’t wait to come in droves to your site or store to evaluate the information for themselves, join your company, invite you as a potential partner, invest as a stakeholder or buy your product or service.
It’s crucial to include PR in a small business marketing plan as a way to differentiate yourself from the competition.
PR pros can use many different tactics for a product launch, or to sustain longer-term public relations goals such as brand building or local community relations.
Offline PR uses tactics like media relations, speaking at conferences, offering contests and contributed articles to generate publicity with print, radio, TV, events, conferences and other “real life” venues.
Online PR is geared towards reaching and influencing audiences that may exist only on the Internet. Think of it as generating buzz on blogs, forums and social networks. Tactics include SEO-optimized press releases or social media press releases, writing blog posts (on your site or as a guest blogger) that can generate discussions with your target market, creating videos that can go viral, and participating in social networks to connect with key influencers, clients and fans of your business.
Approaching Journalists vs. Bloggers
The lines are blurring with many ‘offline’ journalists now running their own blogs or offline publications having an online presence. However, when pitching to get PR with a print journalist, make sure and check out their editorial calendar to see if there are any planned story opportunities. Tailor your pitch to the upcoming story or theme to increase your chances for success.
When pitching a blogger, they usually don’t have an editorial calendar so make sure you are familiar with the type of topics or posts the blogger writes about. Even just five minutes on their site should make it clear that they cover cars vs. flowers, entrepreneurs vs. fortune 500 companies, high tech vs. fashion.
Make sure and consider your overall small business or startup marketing strategy and resources available in deciding the appropriate mix of offline and online PR that will help you meet your goals.
How are you using offline or online PR to get buzz for your business?
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies.
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