How to Create the Foundation for Successful PR:

When In-N-Out Burger came out it was kind of a phenomena in the world of fast food hamburgers. Why? Well, first of all it seemed more fresh somehow than the other and obvious competitors on every street corner. Each store was packed with hard-working teenagers wearing cool hats and red aprons, and the lines were always long. But the thing that stood out the most was that the menu was so very SIMPLE. They essentially served the same type of cuisine, but they decided to limit the menu to a few select items and that ended up setting them apart.

So besides the fact that you are now hungry for a double-double, you are probably also wondering what this has to do with your business and setting yourself up for successful PR. You might own a business in an area with competitors all around. Even if there are just a few you still have to figure out how to set yourself apart. For example, if you own a carpet cleaning business what is it that makes you different than the rest? Eco-friendly cleaning solution? Crazy good customer service? Maybe you leave cookies at the end of every appointment? (If that’s your thing I will most definitely be hiring you regularly!). Whatever it is – figure it out. This will be the basis of your PR story, and our goal here is to make that story ironclad.

How to Figure Out Your Business Story
An ironclad story doesn’t mean it can’t evolve… but it does mean that you need to figure out who you are and own it. You may not think you need a story behind your business to be successful but let me go ahead and try to change your mind. More than ever people like to connect with the services, products, etc that they spend their hard-earned money on. If your craft isn’t unique then talk about why you are. If you are stuck in a rut and you can’t figure out who you really are in this business world, try this exercise to get things flowing (Grab your notebook or laptop because this part requires some note-taking):

  1. Write down all the reasons why you started your business
  2. Write down why you think you are good at what you do
  3. Write down your favorite customer story/interaction – what did you do that helped them? What made that experience special?
  4. Write down where you see your business in 3 years? 5 years?

Even if you think you have your business all figured out, going through these questions periodically might help you discover things you haven’t thought about before. Read through your notes several times, and write down who you are in 3-5 sentences. Last but not least, make sure it’s as simple to understand as possible while still getting your point across.

That’s How You’ll Know

So how will you know that your story is resonating with your audience? They will “get it” when you start talking about your business. They will understand your value. They will offer up help in networking you with the right people, and they might even hire you and become your next client. Your story will resonate with them, and things will just start happening.

How will you know you still haven’t nailed it? You will trip over your story. It will feel awkward as you try to put everything in words. People will ask you questions that will reveal the fact that they don’t know anything about your business, and things will just feel, well stuck. That’s the opposite of what we want. If this happens go back to the questions above and start again… it will come. And sometimes it comes in time and in discovering your identity through your business experiences and that’s OK. Just always be in pursuit of figuring out your story and sticking to it.

For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, subscribe to the FreshLime Newsletter here. Connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter