“Public relations is the management function which evaluates public attitudes, identifies the policies and procedures of an individual or an organization with the public interest, and plans and executes a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.”
– Public Relations News
Public relations can mean many things. Media, Community Relations, Reputation Management, Internal Communications, Events, Webinars, White Papers, Sponsorships, and so on. While large companies have budgets to employ many of these tactics, small businesses can also take advantage of these opportunities. If you’re looking to gain better leadership and communication skills, you could enroll in a Leadership Communication Course and reap the benefits in your business environment.
Why Public Relations is Important
As obvious as this may sound, many entrepreneurs put their marketing and public relations efforts on the backburner because they can’t afford professional services. It simply becomes another item on a never-ending to-do list. And yet, public relations is a crucial element for any startup’s success. If people don’t know about your product or service, how are they going to buy it?
Here are 6 “Do It Yourself” public relations tips for companies just starting out. You might also want to look at other pages for startup pitch tips if you’re looking to secure funding for your potential new business.
Tip 1: What’s Your Story?
Identify what makes your company and product interesting.
- Is it different from the competition’s (and why)?
- Does it decrease time?
- Will it help customers save money?
- Does it make key business functions easier?
- Does it streamline processes?
The important thing to keep in mind is: What’s the customer’s pain point and what are you doing to solve the problem? Tying these points of interest into a memorable and positive image of your company, product and brand can go along way to getting attention for your business.
Tip 2: Create Targeted Messages
Understanding your key messages is important to increasing the odds that your story will contain why your product is better than your competitor’s. It’ll also avoid disappointment when the story runs and it goes in a direction you didn’t intend to take. While you can’t guarantee that a reporter will write what you want to hear, you can increase the odds that your unique selling proposition will be included in the story if you make it clear upfront. To be useful, key messages must:
- Be few in number, usually no more than two or three.
- Be short and concise, generally no more than a sentence or two.
- Be written down.
Keep in mind that if you’ve too many messages, you won’t have focus. If your messages are a paragraph each, you won’t be effective. Writing your messages down makes sure they are short, concise and understandable.
Tip 3: Materials Matter
Just like when you build a house, you need materials. The same is true when promoting your story. What you’ll need:
While the value of the press release is sometimes debated, writers and editors still ask for something in writing before they decide to pursue your story.
Tip 4: Make Yourself Relevant
Research publications in your target market, then read the publications and see where your product or ideas might be a fit. Get to know the reporters writing about your industry space or product. Take the time to develop relationships with relevant media contacts.
This is crucial and can be done by you or a PR consultant. These days, reporters are busy like everyone else keeping up with their “beats” and making sure they are engaged in social media. You want to be prepared and knowledgeable about what they’re writing about, before you email them.
Tip 5: Media Outreach
Where are your competitors appearing? What are the stories about? What do your customers read? Examples of these can be:
- Industry Trade Publications
- Local Business Publications
- Association Publications
- Social Media – blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter
Media outreach is a mixture of timing, skill and resourcefulness. The more targeted you can be with your message and relevant publication, the more odds for success. Also, be realistic. National industry and business publications are very selective about what they cover. Do you have the types of stories they’re looking for, or is it better to target a customer’s industry or local publication?
Tip 6: Bragging Rights
Awards are a great way to gain credibility and recognition for your company. Local business and civic awards can be a good fit, or industry trade publications often run their own awards. Here are a few examples, some local to Atlanta, where we’re located:
- Inc. 500/5000 Awards
- Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) Top 10
- The Red Herring Top 100 Award
- Atlanta Metro Chamber’s Phoenix Awards for startups
- Intel Innovation Award
- Fierce Innovation Award
- Association Awards (e.g., The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Medal of Honor)
Public relations done right can lead to greater awareness for your company or product. Sometimes it can be something simple, while other times you may need to try several attempts until you hit on the right approach. While PR professionals are always out there to help, there are many DIY tips and tricks you can use.
If you happen to be in Atlanta, Tues., May 13, be sure to attend my presentation, “Best PR Practices for Startups.” Learn more and register here at http://bit.ly/1fQMgNJ.
Tags: Alpine Communications, Alpine PR, Blogging, Community Relations, Do It Yourself Public Relations, entrepreneurs, Facebook, internal communications, media, media relations, PR, PR for Startups, PR plan, PR professional, public relations, publicity, social media, Startups, Wendy Alpine