Getting coverage in your local press may not have the kudos of being featured in national newspapers but it often delivers a better return on investment, especially to locally-based businesses.
For small businesses, local newspapers are a more realistic target for press coverage than the national press. Readers of local papers want to read about local news, stories and events so if you can help a journalist deliver this, then you are well on the way to getting valuable press coverage for your business.
No matter what industry you’re in, there are organisations that recognise and reward those that excel above the competition.
When you’re concentrating on finding your feet as a business, you may think that awards should be put on the back-burner. However, you can learn a lot by paying attention to industry awards. (more…)
As a start-up the chances are your marketing budget is smaller than you’d like, so it’s important to get as much out of it as possible.
Although not right for every business startup, PR is a marketing tool that is well worth considering as it builds both awareness and credibility. It can showcase your expertise while delivering third party endorsement from respected journalists and media outlets.
In addition, PR is great for your SEO; having articles authored by you or quoting you filling up the first few pages of Google is just what a start-up business needs.
So how do you do it? We asked, Chantal Cooke, author of PR Demystified; how to get free publicity by giving journalists what they really need, to share her blueprint for DIY PR success;
Your business may offer amazing products and a fantastic service. It may have a clear, determined vision of what it is doing and where it is going. But if your potential customers don’t know it exists, your wonderful business is likely to disappear without trace. As Alan Sugar put it: “Your start-up will be a cock-up if you don’t learn marketing communications”.
But what can a small business do to get themselves noticed?
There are two options: pay lots of money to a marketing company, or do it yourself. The DIY route costs less (if anything at all) and lets you use your unique insight to create the kind of personalised, precision-targeted marketing message that an external marketing consultant could never pull off.
So let’s dip into the marketing communications pic ‘n’ mix to see what methods are at your disposal;
Good publicity can help to propel your small business to another level. Sadly many small businesses don’t make any effort to get any press coverage because they think it’s impossibly difficult to do so.
However, it is really simple to get free publicity for your business. In fact, the reason that many businesses get it wrong is because they try to over-complicate things. Here are the five powerful and unbreakable rules you must follow when trying to get free publicity for your business:
Many entrepreneurs are aware of the benefits of becoming a published author. But only a very small percentage of business owners ever get around to writing a book.
This is a big lost opportunity for those who don’t put pen to paper, according to Sue Richardson, who outlines five ways that writing and publishing a book can help your start-up to take off;
Selecting the right public relations agency is an important decision for any business, but is particularly crucial for a small organisation with a limited budget. Chris Hewitt, CEO of Berkeley PR gives businesses some food for thought when it comes choosing an agency.
Good public relations are essential for any business, but especially so, for small and start-up businesses. If you can persuade editors to run a story about your business, it’s worth a dozen adverts or mailshots. And there’s also the huge added benefit of it not costing you anything!
However, writing a press release isn’t as simple as dashing off a letter to the editor of your local paper. For it to work, your release needs to be carefully crafted and put together.
Here we look at how you should structure your press releases to grab editors’ attention and maximise your chances of getting that elusive, but highly-prized free press coverage.
When you’re starting or running your own small business, you have an endless list of jobs to do. One of the most crucial is generating interest in your business and creating awareness of your products and services.
Big companies can have a team of people to do this and hire a PR agency but as a small business you will probably need to do all your PR yourself. There’s nothing more demotivating when you’re doing your own PR than spending hours getting the perfect press release put together… only for it to be completely ignored by all the journalists you’ve sent it to.
But don’t take it personally, it’s a very common occurrence. And when you hear that 99% of all press releases sent to the media end up in the bin you realise it happens a lot more often than you think.
If you’ve just started your own business, you might be making the mistake of overestimating the scope of publicity you wish to achieve.
Chances are, if you haven’t got a unique business idea that’s going to revolutionise the world, then you’re probably wasting valuable time dealing with national media outlets, especially when you can reap the rewards and credibility of local media instead.
Although it might seem like you are downplaying opportunities when targeting your local area, what needs to be remembered is you are only competing for coverage with other local businesses which ultimately presents a far greater chance of your story succeeding.
Free publicity is a great way to spread the word about your business. If you can get your business featured regularly in the newspapers and magazines your target audience reads, it brings your business to the attention of potential customers, and at no cost.
Another advantage of being featured in articles written about your business is that editorial coverage gives you a huge amount of credibility. It’s an independent trusted person talking about your business – the total opposite of an advert, where you are delivering your message.
The good news is that getting media coverage for your small business isn’t difficult if you know what you’re doing. (more…)
Marketing and PR can be difficult propositions for small businesses, where funds are often tight and need to be stretched as much as possible.
However, by following a basic process, you can maximise the effectiveness of any PR campaign you embark upon – and gain extra ROI by making your campaign wide-ranging in terms of its reach, but focused in terms of its message.
At Bytestart, we receive hundreds of press releases every week. Although around 40% are usually relevant to UK small businesses, out of these we probably only end up using 4 or 5 a week in our news articles. Many are not relevant to our business, some are poorly written, and the majority are not newsworthy.
In an ideal world, everyone who runs a small business would spend at least one day a week actively marketing or selling. Perhaps that’s why this is one of the areas you’re most likely to delegate to someone else.
At Bytestart, we receive around 100 emails each day from PR agencies and small business owners trying to promote their services. 95% of them go in the junk box within seconds.
In this brief article, we look at ten things small business people should avoid doing when contacting the press via email.
Managing director of Voicebox PR, Michelle McCarthy comments on why you need to think twice before stopping PR when hard times hit businesses.
“I think it’s called the Internet or something – blogs is it? – I don’t know, I’ve only just got used to letters John, I haven’t got used to all this new technology.”
John Prescott talking to John Humphreys on Radio 4’s Today programme
When the economy turns bad, many established companies will not be able to react as quickly as leaner, smaller operations. Which means a recession could actually be good news if you’re prepared to dive in and engage with the competition.
Every time we communicate publicly via the internet, we leave a little trace of ourselves. If we post a message on social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook, for example, we create a record that others can access.
Traditionally the phrase pay per hit PR has sent shivers down the spines of both business owners and PR consultants. However it is a method growing in popularity and should be a serious consideration for small businesses during the recession.