PR (or Public Relations) is often perceived as a bit of a dark art. It’s the immeasurable bit of a marketing campaign that can’t be guaranteed, and is often the most difficult to measure.
Quite often business owners and even some Marketing Specialists are unsure about what PR is and it can very often be overlooked as an unnecessary expense when planning an integrated communications programme.
So, what exactly is PR?
In its most simple form PR is storytelling. It’s about telling the story of your brand, a new product or project with a focus on the best bits or the unique elements that make it stand out from the crowd.
For example, you might be a theme park, about to launch the UK’s fastest rollercoaster (in this scenario you’d focus your ‘story’ on the engineering that makes it so fast, a quote from the engineer, the speed and how it compares to other rollercoasters).
Or you may be an artisan florist that specialises in dried flowers, in which case you’d focus on the longevity of your product, minimal maintenance and value for money.
It’s really about identifying what makes your business unique and interesting and seeking out the media with a genuine interest in your industry / brand area.
But does a small business really need PR?
The beauty of PR campaigns for small businesses is that the majority of small businesses are owned and run by their founders. This gives them an instant level of genuine authenticity, something many big brands work hard to manufacturer.
As a result, small businesses have a ready-made platform for thought-leadership features, cutting a credible line as industry champions, innovators and trend setters. This translates particularly well as content for Social Media platforms where there is a wealth of boring contrived content by brands and influencers trying to be authentic.
As an example, an independent restaurant keen to secure local coverage, might talk with insight about local suppliers, seasonal produce and its new menu that reflects and champions ‘local’ – a reflection of a wider global trend.
Content could include video, stills and commentary from local supplier farms, of chefs trying new recipes and patrons enjoying the menu.
So, how to make a start
You only need to look at a few small brand websites to find some good examples of ‘about us’ pages. These brand / business introductions provide the perfect platform to tell the story of your brand in a friendly accessible way that illustrates your personality, highlights your USPs and leaves the reader curious to learn more, or interested in your product.
This is where you have the opportunity to give a lasting first impression – providing the perfect jumping off point to start storytelling about your brand.
Here are a few examples:
It’s become a little corporate over the year – but it’s still engaging – one of the first brands to refresh packing with quirky, engaging and accessible content, crafts, games and nutritional content. Check out Innocent Drinks.
A simple, effective brand introduction can be found on the Fresh website, leaving you very clear on what this brands stands for.
A big brand that connects with its target audience is Nike, focusing on highly engaging imagery and minimal copy.
You have your story… now what?
Research, research, research.
Spend time researching the journalists, bloggers and influencers with an interest in or a passion for your industry/ products.
Once you have your targets identified take the time to introduce your brand, product launch or news story. My advice would be to take your time and send a bespoke pitch (Introduction) to each contact, detailing why you think it will be of interest to them personally or specifically for the publication they write for.
Bear in mind, journalists get hundreds of emails each day with a generic press release / story attached. So, if you take the time to personalise your content you have a much better chance of standing out.
Follow-up with a phone-call, but be prepared to have trouble getting through. If you do connect be ready with a short succinct elevator pitch – why you’re calling and why you thought they would be interested.
Persevere and don’t give up!
If you are a small business owner who thinks PR could be beneficial but not sure where to start, get in touch with our team today.