Image courtesy of www.bbc.co.uk
We hear from people who are interested in learning more about the value of public relations all the time. Business owners and entrepreneurs frequently call our office because they want to create greater awareness of their product or service and, ultimately, drive sales. Other folks tell us they are pretty sure PR is the missing ingredient for taking their brand to the next level, but they aren’t exactly sure what PR is or how it works, so they want to learn more.
We love these calls, don’t get me wrong. Our team is always happy to explain what we do and how PR and marketing can help support a business’ goals. We discuss this topic in detail here. With that being said, we do have to turn people away because they just aren’t a fit as a partner. Whether it’s a matter of philosophy or it just comes down to budget, many businesses simply aren’t ready to work with an agency.
If this applies to you, don’t worry. All is not lost. For business owners who are looking to get a feel for what PR can do for your business or those looking to employ some go-to tactics on a limited budget, we’ve developed the Ultimate B2B PR Cheat Sheet to help you get started:
- Use a Press Release Distribution Service – Whether you run a small business or manage PR for a Fortune 500 company, press release distribution services can help get your company news in front of the right audience – and make you look like a seasoned PR pro in the process. Services like PR Newswire and PRWeb will help deliver your release to targeted reporters in your industry, track how many people are reading it and rank how your release is performing relevant to similar announcements. All of this can be done for a couple hundred dollars per release, depending on the package you select.
- Develop a Social Media Strategy – Looking for an inexpensive way to reach your target audience? It doesn’t get cheaper than social media. We’ve seen many savvy companies create a brand identity, build a loyal follower base and showcase their company’s offering using social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, among others. Donut Bar and PetBox are two local companies who do it right, so check them out to see what we’re talking about. While the development of a social media strategy will require time and energy to implement, it can also provide an extremely cost effective solution for your business if done right.
- Identify Key Reporters in Your Space and Reach Out – Media outreach is a key component of any PR strategy and developing a strong relationship with the right reporter can go a long way in conveying your message to the public. Spend some time researching the journalists and reporters who cover your industry and the types of stories they typically write. Social media can be a great way to gain insight into the reporter’s interests, as well as make a connection and build a relationship. When you have an important company announcement, reach out to them to see if they would be interested in learning more. More tips on working with the media can be found here.
- Hire a Freelancer – If know-how and manpower are issues at your firm (in addition to budget) then you many want to consider hiring a freelancer to help manage your PR and marketing efforts. Freelance.com, Upwork are excellent resources for posting jobs and hiring talented individuals that can help support your business in areas such as web or mobile development, graphic design, writing, or accounting and finance, in addition to sales, marketing and public relations. Elance’s site currently boasts more than 313,000 writers and over 63,000 marketers from more than 180 countries who are all looking for work.
Remember that PR and marketing are long-term plays – not magic bullets. While putting a press release out over the wire or developing a solid social media strategy can help support your goals, you’re setting yourself up to fail if you expect your sales to double overnight. Increased awareness and brand credibility is developed over time, using a comprehensive, multi-channel PR and marketing approach to reach multiple audiences. Finding a strategy that works for your team is only the beginning – you have to stick with it, track your results and be willing to adjust your strategy as needed.