How Small Businesses Can PR with the Big Boys

Public relations seems to be a hazy subject for many business owners, and it is only getting hazier. As the internet grows, it seems that anyone can say they are a media mogul and can garner attention through social media platforms. Alternatively, it is important to understand who you are targeting with every message and every action your company takes. Public relations should be taken into consideration when determining a strategy for the future and is critical to the success of your company.

Understand Your Audience

PR is not always focused on controlling media reaction to new strategies. Many times, companies will focus their PR sectors on acquiring new customers. In the PR world, there are five steps to understanding your audience which will help you acquire them in the long run.

You should 1) Observe the community. Ask yourself who it is you want to reach. 2) You need to listen to the community as well. What are they saying? How do they respond to other PR efforts? 3) You need to identify the channels that matter. Know what platforms the community is using to communicate, both with one another and with other businesses. Identify key players in the community you may be able to outreach to. 4) Internalize what you learn. Incorporate the community’s values into your company’s values, familiarize yourself with their needs. Finally, 5) Participate. Engage with the community the way the community wants to be engaged. Build a customer base that understands that you value their values. This engagement also builds channels into a community’s conversations, so you will be able to reach people when you need to. These steps will help you focus your goals and attention to where it matters most.


Public Relations Means Gathering Data

In order to successfully create a public relations plan, you need to gather a significant amount of data about your target customer and who they look to. Your customers tend to follow the same people, these leaders are called influencers. When you determine a PR plan for your business, targeting influencers will help you reach the wider range of customers. In general, public relations will center upon finding the most direct route to the largest amount of customers. Whether this is through social media, newspaper or television will be decided by the information you collect about your customers.

You Do Not Need A Large PR Firm

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to hire a large PR firm to achieve great results. It can be as simple as hiring an employee with a degree in public relations, or, even better, a master’s degree in public relations. This way, you can focus on the needs of your business while allocating all PR specific needs to someone who is trained in the subject. After finding an employee who is qualified for the job, create a PR plan.

A good PR plan should have a summary of your goals, as well as a mission statement. It should be consistent with the values of the company. Identify your target audiences in defined market segments, and then outline various methods of reaching those audiences. A company-wide PR plan doesn’t need to go into specific details, but it should contain enough information to be a valuable resource. It should also contain budgeting information, and a method to measure results from PR efforts.

Public relations may sound like a tough job, but it doesn’t have to be. As you continue growing your business, consider these methods of completing the PR needs of your business. Remember, you never need to spend an outrageous amount of money for public relations.

Marlena Stoddard writes on small business and entrepreneurship. Originally from Senoia, GA, Marlena lives in Santa Rosa, CA with her husband and 2 children. When she isn’t spending time with her children or writing, Marlena enjoys hiking and photography.

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