Small businesses may feel that PR is not their strong point, but this doesn’t have to be the case. You don’t need a huge PR/media relations department to see success in the PR arena, so we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you boost your success rates when it comes to getting your products, or your client’s products, out there.
Create a media list
Every PR strategy needs to start somewhere, and it should be with a list. This list will become your authority, your guide, your holy grail; the starting point for all future activities and something which you lavish with attention on a regular basis.
A solid media list is the foundation for your whole PR process. This list becomes a hub for every person of interest you could ever possibly need. It should be a complex web of information, including bloggers, magazines and newspapers, with subsections for individual journalists, both national and international, as well as freelancers and local news, and even people of interest in TV and radio – whatever you think suits your needs.
Try to make the list as detailed as possible, and for each journalist or blogger include email addresses, contact numbers, addresses, job roles etc. For bloggers it’s also handy to include information relating to their blog followers, which social platforms they’re active on, social followers and the topic of their blog. This means that if you have a new client or want to target a new industry you can narrow your list down quickly and easily.
Think about the bloggers
A PR strategy doesn’t have to mean targeting traditional print publications – bloggers are a vital tool for small businesses. You should categorise bloggers in two varieties:
1. Bloggers who write as a hobby, to share their passion and build credibility with no direct revenue from their site
2. Bloggers who are making money from their blog through guest posts, product sales, advertising etc
Bloggers who make money through advertising on their blogs are a completely different ballgame. Convince & Convert say “their blogs are content hungry beasts who need to be fed constantly, and they are in search of high-value content that can drive traffic to their blog.” These are the people you want to be working with.
Different bloggers should be approached differently, and you should know which category they fall into BEFORE reaching out to them. Your list can help, so be sure to evaluate each blog individually and identify its type. Blogs can be fantastic opportunities for posting comments and securing guest posts and featured posts, and they should be given the same time and attention you would give to a leading print publication.
Social mentions are another important area when it comes to PR and bloggers, and something that it is well worth thinking about. A tweet or Instagram post from a top blogger with an image of your client’s product can be just as effective, if not more so, than a standard link. Branch out and make sure your PR strategy evolves with the times rather than getting stuck in the ways of yesteryear.
This is all providing that the blog in question is relevant and worth the effort. You don’t want to be wasting time contacting bloggers who don’t have many followers or who don’t usually work with PRs. If no one else wants to work with them and no one visits their blog, why waste time?
Tell a good story
Once you have targeted people to contact, make sure you have something worth telling them. ‘Something new’ is the ultimate PR goal – and it’s worth its weight in gold. Try to come up with an angle that makes your client’s products interesting to people. What could they be used for? Why would people want to know about them? Is there something topical/of-the-moment that they relate to? That is how you get people to get involved.
Social media is becoming a seriously useful tool for small businesses, and it’s no different with PR. You can use social media to get in touch with journalists and bloggers and let them know that you have something that might be of interest to them, or something you’d like to share with them. Make sure to keep it professional, though. Don’t get carried away because you’re on social media – they’re not your new BFF.
You’re likely to have much better results if you follow all of the media professionals you want to target in advance and engage in conversation with them at other times. This helps you to build genuine connections and stops it seeming like you only make contact when you want something from them.
One thing you should remember is that being a small business doesn’t necessarily put you at a disadvantage from a PR point of view. Large corporations can be impersonal, and can end up churning out emails that feel generic and mass produced. Play up the small business angle and show your passion, make real connections and build relationships by joining genuine conversations. You won’t regret it.