There’s something very exciting about seeing your small business appear in a newspaper and giving an interview on live radio. I always get a real buzz and just a simple joy at feeling a piece of work or new project has got some recognition and more profile.
But positive feelings and big smiles aside, PR activity can really pay off and bring new customers and sales to your door. And all at quite a small cost.
My top tips for giving PR a go
Make sure you’ve got the right ingredients
You’ll need: a good story, a good press release and good contacts or relationships.
Finding your story
This can be the trickiest bit, but I firmly believe small businesses, particularly start-ups or sole traders, have a real passion for what they do and you probably have your own story just about how your business came to be.
Writing your story
Think about what people will want to read: they want to be informed, educated and possibly thrilled or entertained. Think about a narrative. Stories sell- just look at the multi-billion dollar film industry. Make sure your story includes the what, where, why, who, when, how.
What makes it news?
Time to be critical: what’s different about it? Try to find a local angle, or something significant about the people involved or the timing.
Research online (including Twitter) and start getting to know the journalists you’re interested in and the titles they are writing for. You need to know any particular topics they like writing about and also basics like deadlines.
Case study: Chapter3
Earlier this year I gave a short talk to around fifty local businesses, covering the points in this blog. Lindsay Cameron from Chapter3 left the session inspired to have a go herself and this resulted in an article in the Yorkshire Post about her organisation.
Lindsay says “Rebecca’s excellent presentation gave me great insight into how the media works and the confidence to go for it. The following week I was at a talk with the business editor of the Yorkshire Post and I decided to seize the opportunity, be brave and persuade him that I had a good story to tell”.
“I knew I had a short time to sell my story and had to make sure it sounded attractive in as few words as possible. I was delighted to meet him for an interview and so pleased with the final article”.
Chapter3 have made a start with their PR activity and have also formed a new relationship which I’m sure they will follow up. After the article appeared in the newspaper, they also made sure they told everyone by social media, including a Linkedin update.