30 March 2010

0 6 Public Relations Tips for Business Owners & Do-it-yourselfers:

Often times small businesses don’t have the capital to hire a public relations agency to help them with their strategies. Unless you’re a non-profit you’re pretty much out of the running for the pro-bono work. And hiring a full-time or even part-time communications professional is also often out. So where does that leave you? Doing it yourself. Here are a few PR tips for you.

1. Develop a strategic plan.
This will keep your efforts on track. Outline your key Public Relations Goals and how they help to meet your business goals. Before implementing a new effort, ask yourself: “Does this meet one of my PR and/or business goals?” If not, don’t waste your time on that tactic. By developing a solid strategic plan you can keep your PR efforts from being put to the back of your priorities list, as well as cutting back on wasted time on tactics that don’t fit into your strategic plan.

2. Develop a Communications “consciousness.”
If you can become more involved in your marketing efforts and develop a basic understanding of what is effective you will become more inspired and have more valuable ideas for your company.  I suggest reading a book on marketing, attending seminars, learning more about your website and working closely with your marketing consultant to get the most out of your efforts.

3. Keep asking questions.
Continually ask questions of your consultants and see if they have new recommendations for you to enhance your campaigns. Touch base with your small business networks or friends in the public relations profession. They are your most valuable allies and a good consultant will know what works and will be attuned to your competition so you can learn from other's successes.

4. Use a blog.
If you don’t have a blog on your website I highly recommend taking the time to set one up and then regularly contributing to it. This is an excellent platform to give your stakeholders a look into your “softer side”. You can easily highlight your experience, strengths, products, services, and establish your business as an authority in it's niche market.  I suggest inviting your stakeholders to check out your latest blog posts. Blogging builds credibility and will help keep your company name in the forefront.

5. Use Press Releases.
Email press releases to your local media outlet whenever you have anything newsworthy.  It is a free and easy way to keep your company name prominent and should be part of your overall PR strategy. Just remember to keep it newsworthy. Sure, some great newsworthy topics are receiving government grants or opening a new business location, but don’t forget to think outside the box. Is there something newsworthy happening in your market? Then write a press release about it. For example, health care reform is huge now. If you’re a private practice then write on the changes you expect to see in your business as a result. Or if you are a tax professional you can write a news release discussing the tax credits associated with the bill and what they will mean. Also, don't forget about cost effective online news distribution services such as 24-7 press release, or small business specific services such PRWeb. This can help you get a little more bang for your efforts.

6. Utilize Social Media.
Social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter are excellent relationship building tools.That is what public relations is truly all about - building positive relationships with your stakeholders! Learn more about what Facebook has to offer and how to engage your Facebook fans.


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