Marketing & Sales Public Relations

4 PR Tips For Small Business Owners

Written by Luke Fitzpatrick

Effective PR is about more than just a media release or product event to raise brand awareness. It also involves cultivating and encouraging positive relationships, utilising content to its highest potential, leveraging social media, and understanding where others have gone wrong.

If done correctly, PR can attract national or even international media, and this can have a drastic impact on your business’ bottom line. With all this in mind, here are the four ways you can successfully promote yourself and your small business at the same time.

1. Do what others don’t do

As with anything in business, PR is about learning from those around you and those who have come before you. Use their failures or their mix-ups to your advantage. Do your research about how others in your line of work have promoted themselves and their business, and analyse their efforts. If they’ve been successful, how did they make it work? If they struggled, why? What can you do differently?

For example, many people out there may distribute media releases to every single journalist they have on speed dial. But this isn’t the best way to get things across the line. Make sure to only distribute media releases to publications that are relevant to your industry or to the topic you’re writing about—a pet magazine isn’t going to publish an article on cloud computing, but they may be interested in a release about an essay contest scholarship on feline welfare.

2. Use your content wisely

While big articles can be written about small achievements, readers won’t necessarily care that you’ve just won the best small catering business in Sydney. Instead, they want to know why it matters to them and how you can help them. Remember, the newsroom is a very competitive environment and you need to find the angle that will cut through other stories.

Once you have your content expertly written, make the most of it. Request republication on other news outlets, or even ask if websites would like for you to guest blog. This is a great way of establishing yourself as a thought leader in your field while getting your name out there too.

3. Piggyback off trends

Journalists love to cover current events, so if you’re able to piggyback off something, it will make your content much more appealing. Do your research into what’s currently happening around your state, the country and even the world.

If there’s an election coming up, reporters will look for informative stories that buy into election campaign promises or discuss current events that the public expect candidates to respond to. If you have information on hand, or you or your business specialises in something related, you can contact reporters with an offer to be interviewed, or with a request to write a piece covering that particular topic.  

A good example of this is Phill Britt, the Managing Director of Aussie Broadband, who previously hosted an AMA on Reddit. This garnered 3.7K upvotes and 842 comments, and then Britt further leveraged this by writing an op-ed piece about this on Lifehacker, whilst at the same time gaining coverage on TechAU and other news publications.  

4. Leverage social media

In the PR world, social media should be your best friend. The media landscape is constantly changing, and nowadays people are consuming information through apps and social media more than ever. The lesson here is, if you don’t understand social media, find someone who can teach you.

When creating your content, think about what will be popular on social media, as this is bound to get the most traction and, in turn, more eyes on you and your business. This is also an easy way for media companies to promote you. If you create a really compelling article and share it on your own social media, you can show media companies how popular it is and this gives them an incentive to share it on their own channels.

Final remarks

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine, but good PR is about being one step ahead and anticipating what angles, stories, and information will succeed in cutting through the other stories out there. Understanding that the media landscape is constantly changing is also key to successful PR, so do your research and constantly re-educate yourself. If you do this and cultivate relationships with reporters, bloggers, and editors, you’ll go far.

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About the author

Luke Fitzpatrick

Luke Fitzpatrick is a Forbes contributor and a guest lecturer at Sydney University. In his past, he has worked for startups in both South Korea and Australia.