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As we near the end of 2020 (thank heavens), a lot of people have taken the opportunity to start out on their own and set up their own businesses. Those that have will want to spread the news far and wide, so here are some of our top tips (not exhaustive by any means!) for those who want to bring a bit of PR into their lives in 2021.
Get your story straight
Good PR is essentially telling a good story. In this case, it’s your story – how did you start? Why did you start? What was the problem you wanted to solve? What is your business’s purpose beyond making a profit? Create a clear narrative and weave it into all your communications – whether it’s through your website, interviews or advertising. You should be clear who you are, where you come from and what you stand for.
Innocent Drinks told a brilliant story about their early beginnings – starting out at a music festival and getting people to vote on whether or not they should quit their day jobs to sell smoothies. This story is still part of their brand to this day, even though Coca-Cola now owns the majority of the business. It’s your business and your story, so use it to your advantage.
Work out who exactly you want to reach
So often business leaders want to be featured in the likes of the FT, Telegraph or The Times, but they don’t really know why. Rather than opting for whichever publication you regularly read, think about what your target audience is likely to be consuming.
To do that you need to understand who your target audience are. Perhaps they are other small business owners? Or for a B2C offering, perhaps they are people who live locally to you? If so, there might be small business publications or local media outlets that you can target and slowly build a name for yourself. Be patient, start off small and gradually build your profile and it will pay off.
Start to build relationships with journalists
Once you know your target audience, you’ll be able to find out what publications they are most likely to read. Get to know these publications – what do the journalists write about? What makes a good story for them? Connect with these journalists on twitter or LinkedIn so that you can get to know what they like writing about.
If and when you do have some news to share – perhaps you’ve secured some funding or you’ve reached a significant business milestone – then get in touch with them via email. Be honest with yourself though. Has this journalist written similar stories before, is it honestly news that you would expect to read in this outlet? You want to make sure your story is relevant, otherwise you might not get a response and could even irritate the journalist. If your news isn’t quite big enough to share then hold it back until it is and focus on building your knowledge of these reporters in the meantime.
Use your own channels to build your credibility
Use your own channels, such as LinkedIn or Twitter, as well as blogging on your company website to share your views, opinions and advice on topics that are relevant to your business. Slowly building up layers of proactive communication will demonstrate that you know what you are talking about. Not only will this help with new business prospects, but it could also help get you on the radar of an influential reporter or news outlet.
Never underestimate the power of good customer service
PR is about good communication, and good customer service requires good communication. Whether you’re a B2C or a B2B business, you are still dealing with customers, and how you manage them will pay dividends on how your reputation is perceived. It’s often overlooked but it’s a basic necessity to have good customer service in place from the off. If you don’t, you may find yourself dealing with PR issues which can seriously damage your brand. As Warren Buffet is famously reported as saying, “it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” Don’t forgo all the hard work you’ve done in building your story, only to throw it out the window.
If PR seems like a lot of work, it’s because it is. Creating a strong narrative and building relationships with journalists takes time, patience and sometimes, good old-fashioned luck. If you want a hand or a point in the right direction, then get in touch, we’re always happy to help.