"Practical Public Relations for the Small Business: Tools and Tactics for Competitive Advantage," is designed as a go-now, hands-on primer for grabbing earned media in addition to getting the best deal on paid media during times of tight money.
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"The public is the only critic whose opinion is worth anything at all." Mark Twain, aka Samuel Clemens, literary icon
Good public relations, like human relations, is a process, not an event.
“Practical Public Relations for the Small Business: Tools and Tactics for Competitive Advantage,” is designed to provide an insight into how reporters and editors of print and electronic media judge what is worthy of coverage.
During this time of economic recession, one of the first expenses owners cut is advertising and other outreach.
That leads to less business, possible layoffs, and even more cost cutting. This book provides specific examples and directions about what to do to help businesses get the word out about themselves -- in some cases even more so than when budgets were fat.
This primer explains the rules of the road for entrepreneurs who would like earned publicity for themselves and their businesses. As a professional public relations practitioner, I have been regularly asked for advice and help on projects.
Public relations is as much of an art as a science because it deals in perception and ongoing interaction with internal and external audiences. Sprinkled throughout the text are quotes that illustrate how people from every walk of life are concerned about communicating effectively with others. We are all judged not only by what we say, but by how we say it.
We have never had more information channeled to us. But while we have more access to information, no one has added any more time to our day. That means the majority of messages are ignored as we reach information overload.
PR is not only about your business, but also yourself. This guide incorporates the challenges and the how-to of basic business public relations and touches on the philosophy of human interaction from a personal perspective.
I’ve told my PR students the only equation they would have to know for my class is Visibility = Credibility. But human relations is a broader concept than public relations, because it relies on the same principle of treating people honestly and fairly.
This work focuses on:
* Taking multiple approaches to visibility and credibility
* Targeting your markets for results
* Working with customers and clients
* Bringing employees onto your team
* Shaping your message
* Working with the media
* Buying the right media
* Getting free coverage
* Highlighting your business and yourself
* Reacting properly in a crisis
* Performing a basic SWOT analysis
* Being a star with the public
* Writing a press release that will be used
* Conducting a press conference
* Creating word of mouth and testimonials
* Doing outreach and engagement
* Pulling emotional triggers
I guarantee this book will make you think of ways to become a better communicator regardless of what type of business you own, run, or are thinking about starting.
Getting the media to write a story on your business
“It's good to keep in mind that prominence is always a mix of hard work, eloquence in your practice, good timing and fortuitous social relations.”
Barbara Kruger, artist, graphic designer
Most newspapers will carry a short blurb about a new business but you need to know how to best present the facts to the reporter. Even better, know which reporter to contact. Have your one-minute commercial ready to go and don’t ramble on.
Every paper has a business reporter. If you don’t know who that is, call the news desk and ask. Read the paper to see how business news is presented and emulate that style and language. Most reporters prefer e-mail because the information only needs to be edited rather than rekeyed into their computers.
That said, understand there is absolutely no requirement for any newspaper, radio or TV station to carry your information. Therefore, be grateful for any free blurb you get, even if it’s two lines out of the two pages you sent.
Think on multiple levels in getting your story out. This can be as simple as finding an angle that makes your business different from your competitors or from the many other types of enterprises out there.
Do you provide a unique service? Are your employees different from the norm, i.e., fully certified in what they do, younger than average, retired, involved in public service, award-winners, or stand out in some way?
This is really important for non-profit organizations. By their nature, non-profits are seen in a better light because of their community outreach function. Editors and news directors see covering these as a public service of their own and tend to provide greater coverage if given newsworthy material.
This built-in advantage can offset the smaller advertising budgets of many non-profits. Look for ways to regularly communicate about your organization’s people, projects and accomplishments. Keeping your name in front of your publics increases recognition and credibility. That pays off in greater cash and material donations and more community engagement with your events.
Many business owners have expertise in more than one area. Outside talents or involvements might make you interesting to interview even if your comments are not specifically related to your business.
I knew the owner of a printing business who was a pilot and aviation history buff. He was not only interviewed on aviation matters but also published a pictorial book about vintage aircraft.
Community service and good will are quantifiable assets of any business.
In fact, much of the valuation of a business has to do with good will.
We are creatures who operate in multiple spheres of influence. Folks
who wear more than one hat in their community should use this to their
advantage by talking about it. Until people get to know you, they really aren’t interested in what you’re doing. They want to know what you’re going to do for them.
Good will is a key component of success. People do business with people
they trust and like.
That having been said, press materials on a new or revamped business
should have a definite focus. Don’t swamp the reporter with irrelevant and
confusing details that may have little to do with your basic message.