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Make Public Relations Part of Your Plan

DATE PUBLISHED: January 03, 2012
With so much emphasis on social media and the Internet, many small businesses are forgetting one key tactic to help market their business: Public Relations. While not easy to implement, PR is a sound adjunct to any marketing strategy for businesses of any size, and a tactic worth undertaking and mastering in the coming year.

Without PR experience, how do you go about developing a PR plan? Here are some suggestions that should help get YOUR PR program off the ground.

As with all marketing, you start by defining who your target market is and focus on those people. Find out what your customers like to read, what type of music they listen to on the radio and what programs they like to watch. Once you have that information, find publications that your target audience will relate to. You can search the Internet to find pertinent publications in your business area.

Next, find out what reporters cover your particular business field or industry. Get their contact info from the publications and plan your strategy.

Now that you have the people to target with your PR, you need to determine what PR stories you can submit to those reporters. Using current trends or news stories, you need to develop story angles that that have a strong connection to your business.

Take a topical news story and spin it to relate to your business. If you’re a Relator, for example, and there’s a news story about an increase in foreclosures in your community, submit a story on how you have expertise in short sales and are willing to help people who are at risk of losing their homes.

Next, develop specific key points you want to share with each different reporter or media contact, points you’re ready to share in detail. Contact the reporters and “sell” your story, using the local angle and your willingness to help people in distress. This is just one example, but you can use it to determine how your specific area of expertise can be used to respond to a major news story.

Sending out releases and contacting reporters is just one area of PR. You have to put yourself out there in the community to get potential customers to know you and your business. Attend meetings, social events and presentations. Offer to be a speaker on various panels. Join the boards of community groups and non-profits. It’s all about exposure, and you need as much as you can get.

Finally, realize that public relations is a long-term proposition. It might take weeks or even months to start getting reporters to respond to your releases and your calls. But once they do, you’ll get the exposure you’re looking for.

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