Super-busy small business owners, with limited time and resources, often find themselves taking on a ridiculous number of roles. From sales and accounts to recruitment, legal issues and marketing, many business owners deserve an award for excessive multi-tasking.
Because of this issue – and on occasion due to a lack of understanding about its potential – there are times when Public Relations (PR) is put on the back-burner. “We just don’t have time for PR at the moment” is something I’ve heard numerous times. However, I truly believe that PR, when done effectively, is one of the best things a business can decide to do.
My experience includes working for PR agencies across a range of sectors. My first piece of advice would be if budget allows, to carefully research which agency will be best for your business. Talk to peers, friends and co-workers for recommendations.
If you don’t have the budget to employ an agency, here are five PR tactics every small business should be doing:
- Find what’s unique
It sounds obvious, but journalists love to hear about anything new or genuinely unique. Think about your product offering and identify anything that’s worth shouting about. Journalists love freebies so research a handful of the most influential journalists and invite them to review your product or service if possible.
- Be creative to grab the media’s attention
Some of the best PR stunts have been by small to medium–sized businesses thinking creatively on limited budgets. For example, the hair removal salon, Shobha, recently staged a ‘No pants subway’ ride in New York to raise awareness of its offering. The photogenic stunt received a lot of press coverage worth thousands of dollars.
- Keep it simple
Don’t have time to write a press release? Sometimes a carefully-crafted, short message can have just as much, if not more, impact. Journalists are just as busy as you are so make sure you get straight to the point and keep it simple.
- Don’t forget the pictures
Great images are equally as important too. Journalists often ask for accompanying images and they can often make a story. Keep that in mind at all times and have your camera ready. For example, if you’re hosting a charity event, take some fun photographs and send them to your local newspaper with full name captions and a description of the event. And remember, print publications will ask for high resolution quality images – which means at least 1MB and 300dpi.
- Hope for the best, prepare for the worst
Consider your crisis management plan. I’m always shocked when I meet a business owner that hasn’t considered what he or she would do in the event of a crisis. For example, with an adventure tour operator that has careful health and safety measures in place, there’s still the chance of a vacationer injuring themselves or worse. Good crisis management can save a company from going out of a business. It’s all about working with the media to provide timely carefully-worded statements.