Working in public relations and providing PR for small business is something we have always been passionate about. While we work with a number of larger companies, PR for start-ups and small to medium enterprises is an area we regularly provide support for and love to do.
No one understands better than us how hard it can be, being a start-up, and how a little advice on what may at first seem complex or overwhelming subjects and questions, can make the path forward much clearer. Raising your confidence, that you can handle some of your own marketing, when you have little budget spare can be invaluable.
So what do you need to consider when you’ve got little funds to afford marketing or PR support in the early days, but you know it will help?
To follow are some tips from us on things to consider, ways to approach things and to be aware of:
Make sure you identify the right media to tell your story to:
If you decide to embark on some of your own marketing, then go for it. But beware of picking the right media for the correct topics.
Many companies we speak with say to us they want their story seen in outlets where we know the chance of this is slim. Managing expectations is important. If you are launching a new range of lipstick or a new form of technology, there are certain media who want to know about this and will be more interested in beating about it.
Don’t try to target all the media. Research which journalists write stories on topics where your product or service fits in. Take time to learn about the writer you are sending information to.
Less can quite often be more – in other words one or a few articles in a key publication or program rather than 20 articles in irrelevant outlets can do much more you at times.
Don’t send the same story idea to every single media outlet:
This is a mistake and if you send the exact same idea or story recommendation to every single contact you have put on your media list, without tailoring it to what they might write, you may well find a lack of replies or genuine interest.
Avoid the mistake of the copy and paste and take the time to address the people you are writing to.
Again, less is more – it is better to have a short list of relevant media who will actually care about your story and consider it, than to send to hundreds of journalists who won’t be interested and you only end up annoying them by wasting their time.
Don’t forget to put yourself in others’ shoes. Think about what you’d like to read and how you’d like to read it!
It may seem obvious to some, but work out what’s being written about and reported on. Take the time to read the stories in the paper over a week or two, including over the weekend. Review what is being written about in online news forums, e-magazines and look at how stories are reported on TV programs you think your story could be a part of. You’ll quite quickly see there is generally a format or a way in which news is reported on.
Use that to guide you. Think about what you find interesting.
For example, as a no-go, it’s not a good idea to contact journalists about a special deal or a closing down sale, or a promotion you might be running. There is select media who will write about these stories. When do you ever see on the news, stories that are selling you a dozen bottles of award winning wine at a brilliant price? Generally hard sales messages are never on news stories – these are advertising pieces.
Build social media into your PR activities.
Using social media is a cost effective way to share more news and updates, create connections and find your voice.
While it can be time intensive, don’t be fooled – you don’t have to post 3-4 times a day, you can set updates a few times a week. Ig you cannot manage more, do what you can. Social media gives you a space to talk directly to existing or potential customers, media and other key opinion leaders – you can ask people for feedback and you can follow and interact with some journalists as well.
LinkedIn can be a great way to connect with relevant media, key opinion leaders and others who can help share your story.
So embrace social media as best as you can manage. If you get stuck, there are plenty of forums you can ask for advice and Facebook and Instagram both offer business blogs loaded with insights.
Use statistics and research.
If you have a product or service that relies on or uses research or data, look for ways to include this. For example, if you know 73% of Australian women aged between 25-34 use a product that is similar to one you’re producing and that this is a growing market, (made up stat!) then use some of this kind of information within your media releases or pitch documents to show how relevant what you’re creating, is.
Journalist and the media like to learn of new research that can have an impact on consumers and society. It is generally also quite useful and informative for your core customer base. Even if the research isn’t yours, take the time to search for statistics or insights that relate to your industry which may help strengthen your cause or offering.
We are always very happy to support small business, even if you just need to spend a couple of hours with us and not embark on a full-blown campaign. Basic advice, ideas on how to approach a strategy and some media insights and tips, can sometimes be all you need to get you on your way if you need to handle things yourself and we’re here to help!
Written by Michelle Palmer // Director & Co Founder, Modern Currency.