How PR Works for Small Business:
What you say about your business isn’t as nearly effective as what other people say about your business. That’s why customer reviews are so important. Just the other day I passed on an Airbnb property because of one scathing review. I wanted to see past it but the guy said there were cockroaches in the place and I just couldn’t do it! Good reviews are HUGE for business and there are a lot of ways to get them (FreshLime has some great steps to follow for that). But today we are going to talk about how to get noticed in the news – tv, magazine, newspapers, blogs, social media influencers, etc.
Today we will focus on the first part which is getting noticed by the media – KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Be confident in who you are, the business you are building, and the industry you represent. Confidence goes such a long way in establishing yourself as an expert in your field. This expertise will drive business your way and will also excite the media in talking to you. Side note – reporters/editors can smell BS a mile away – so fake it till you make it.
Ask yourself the following questions to determine what you have to say (use this workbook to answer them HERE and get a customized media pitch delivered to your inbox FREE).
- What is your 30-second elevator pitch?
- When did you start your business?
- Why did you start your business?
- Where is your business located and where (in general) do your customers live?
- What does your business say about who you are as a person?
- How is your business helping other people?
- What are the main problems that your business is solving?
Watch ABCs popular show Shark Tank and you will quickly see that the sharks are looking for solutions to problems & pain people are going through – what is unique about your business that is helping others? How are you making a difference? The answer to these questions may be obvious to you but are they interesting to others? If you think you are the coolest thing since sliced bread but no one seems to catch on to your message you need to do some reflection.
The first step in re-positioning your media message? Write a story about a friend’s business and ask the questions above as a guideline. Even if you aren’t interested in their dog-walking business, pretend as if it’s the most fascinating thing you have ever heard. This will help you understand the experience someone else is having when they talk to you about what you are doing and give you better insight into how to approach your message.
Last but not least (actually this is one of the most important things to remember with public relations), a media message IS NOT an advertisement. If you are sending over the same text copy that you use when placing an ad in the local newspaper, you are taking the wrong approach. Think about the stories you like to read in the media – that is more along the lines of what reporters want to write about. So try writing your own story about your business as an exercise and see how it resonates with you – is this going to entice readers to spend time watching or reading about you? That’s what the journalists and the public ultimately want.
Now, there are a lot of aspects to PR for small business that we haven’t talked about – but we’ll save that for next time. In the meantime e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with any public relations questions you may have and we will answer them in the next blog post in our PR series for small business.