Making Public Relations Part of your Business Plan

If you’re a small business owner, public relations may be an area you shy away from. Public relations is a great and often times free tool you can utilize to get your community and customers talking about your company. Here are a few questions about public relations that often plague business owners.

What’s the point of public relations?
Public relations is all about building relationships with everyone involved in your business. From your customers and prospects to employees and the community your business resides in, fostering relationships with these groups can help you build long term customers and supporters of your business, which translates into more sales for you. Think about it, if you’re actively communicating with a group of people about things that matter to them, they’re much more likely to pick your business over another that made no effort to reach them.

What can I do to build these relationships?
Press releases are a signature tool that an effective public relations strategy often falls back on. At its basis, a well-constructed press release focuses on the awesome things your company is accomplishing, covering topics that speak to your audience and get people talking. To learn more about crafting a press release, check out this article.

Social media is another great tool to build relationships as it lets you communicate directly with the people that matter. By maintaining an active and professional presence on social media, you’ll allow people to see what your company is all about, get information directly from the source and feel a real connection to your business. Learn the specifics of utilizing social media to your advantage in this article.

How do I know what my audience wants to hear about?
Although you may disagree, not everything your company does is newsworthy. Select your stories wisely by following a few key aspects. Your news must be timely and include a story from the here and now. If you’re covering an event that happened two weeks ago, you’ve missed your chance. Proximity and relevance are also important – distribute your release to publications covering your community along with trade publications focused on your industry. Finally, focus on human interest. People love to read about other people, especially if it’s something they can relate to or find a takeaway. Whether you’re releasing these stories through a press release, on social media or through a blog, remember to always keep your audience in mind.

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