Having a good PR strategy can take your company to the next level. So, where do you start? Small Business BC connected with Ada Slivinski, VP at Talk Shop Media, to ask for tips for small businesses to get started on their PR strategy.
What is PR?
According to Ada, Public Relations (PR) is about finding out what you’re trying to tell the broader public and then how to best communicate that message. “At the core, it’s what’s interesting about your company and how you say it,” said Ada.
PR is about discovering your unique value proposition and how you share that message, from social media and partnerships to traditional media coverage and micro-influencers.
“A big part of what we do in PR is figuring out what those interesting pitches will be for media and sharing them and then getting media coverage and exposure for clients,” said Ada.
Do small businesses need PR?
“Everybody can benefit from PR, but the reality is a lot of small businesses don’t have the budget for engaging a large firm or even a smaller PR consultant,” said Ada. Today, many small business owners do their own PR.
To successfully do your own PR, it’s helpful to take a strategic step back and map out what you’re trying to say and how you reach your audience. Ada says that small business owners don’t need to spread themselves thin in the process, either.
“It can be as simple as boosting a LinkedIn presence if you’re a B2B business, or it can be finding that strategic pitch and angle and targeting five to seven journalists that would be interested in telling that story. Maybe one or two of those pitches land, and you’re already further ahead than if you’re trying to do it all without a strategy in place,” said Ada.
How is PR helpful?
“It can be really easy to be blind to how you’re perceived and what your audience really wants when you’re in the day-to-day of your business,” said Ada.
PR is helpful because you’ll get an outside party to share how they see you and your business. You can do it yourself by asking friends and colleagues for feedback on everything.
Working with a good PR agency or consultant is particularly helpful if your business wants to raise money, expand into new markets, and push growth. “If you’re going through a fundraising round, it can be exceptionally helpful for attracting the right investors, showing them that you’re a key player important in the market…it makes a big difference,” said Ada.
What’s the best PR strategy for small business?
“In my experience, traditional media will be the best bang for your buck,” said Ada. “Reaching traditional media outlets with your story and getting them to share your message through their platforms will give you the most exposure and the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time and often for the most affordable price point.
According to Ada, traditional media gives you two great things. First, you get exposure to a media outlet’s large audience. Second, you get credible, third-party validation when you’re featured in the news and not in an advertising capacity.
“That’s where you start to see that snowball effect where people hear about you in the media, and then maybe they’re seeking you out on social, and they’re looking for you online, and they’re either purchasing your product or learning more that way,” said Ada.
What PR mistakes should small businesses avoid?
Ada said that the biggest PR mistake a small business could make is not finding their edge and using it to a competitive advantage. “Small business owners will often try to tell their entire story…a big part of my job is telling people that what they do is not as interesting as they think it is,” said Ada.
“Then, from there, we can refine what sets you apart and what people will be interested in and capitalize on that,” said Ada.
Ada says business owners shouldn’t hesitate to contact a PR firm and prides herself on being approachable for businesses of any size. “Even if we’re not the right fit at this point in their business, we can refer them to great consultants or PR students who can provide value, no matter what stage of business they’re at,” she said.
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