Why your start-up or small business needs PR

5 August 2020 | 3 min read | News
Paul MacKenzie-Cummins
Paul MacKenzie-Cummins

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In an article for Business Advice magazine, I was asked why small businesses and start-up companies should consider PR as part of their overall promotional strategy. It’s not a case of should, they must. I don’t say this simply because I have made my living from PR for, well, a fair few years. Rather, I do so because PR is what helped us to grow our business and it has done the same for each of the clients we have worked with. And here’s the proof:

  • In 2019, Clearly doubled its fee income from the year before by doing PR for ourselves (we practice what we preach)
  • In 2018, our income was three-fold that which was generated in 2017
  • One client saw a 25 per cent year on year increase in sales on the back of the comms and content plan we implemented
  • Another client generated over £1/2 million in new business from a single piece of content we created

I could detail more, but you get the picture.

There is a misconception that only established businesses and well-known brands should engage in PR. But this is a fallacy. The reality is that irrespective of size or how long the business has been established, it needs to ensure it gets its name ‘out there’ as often as possible to the right people, in the right way and at the right time.

Essential for PR is to show, rather than tell your audience something they didn’t already know. By diverting away from what every other Tom, Dick, and Harry is talking about, you instantly stand out – providing, of course, you can back up your perspective. To do this and get it right involves putting some real effort in.

Some of the most effective and high impact tactics that can be used are:

  • Writing a series of blogs for your website that aims to address some of the key challenges and pain points faced by your target audience
  • Creating whitepapers and classic how-to guides
  • Using social media
  • Seeking out speaker opportunities at key industry events
  • Targeting publications that carry the sort of content that your market will be interested in reading

Several studies have shown that 80 per cent of consumer purchasing decision is made before making contact with an organisation. So, it perhaps comes as no surprise that 81 per cent of marketers agree that “earned” media (i.e. PR) is more effective at building awareness and driving new revenues. This is versus “paid” media, such as traditional advertising and direct marketing.

Naturally, for entrepreneurs, the focus will be on the bottom line – how much return on investment will be generated from their PR activities? If the entrepreneur is looking for immediate returns, they will be better off running an advertising campaign.