There are certain ways and campaigns that you can do to build your businesses social media and brand name to get your business out there and the way to do that is through PR, also known as public relations. There are many that fall under the illusion that you have to hire someone to do your PR for you, or that you should limit yourself to certain types of PR, but they’re misguided. Getting positive PR isn’t too difficult once you get the ball rolling, and especially when you do more campaigns than just press releases and media articles. Below are some easy steps to follow to becoming and running your own businesses PR team, as well as some of the multiple kinds of PR that your business should be involved in.
Getting Your Campaign Ready
This is probably the most time consuming of the steps because, in order for you to have successful PR campaigns, you need to have all of the materials ready before launching, that way you aren’t caught unprepared. Depending upon what kind of campaign or event you’re going for, whether it’s physical ones (events, parties, open houses) or online ones (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), you have to gather everything you need before beginning your PR campaign including:
- Company Logo (for brochures, social media, and profile pictures)
- Press releases that are ready to go or already released (also that you wrote, giving you the control of the narrative you want to tell, and information you want to provide)
- Photographs (shots of employees/founder, products or services, etc.)
- If you’re doing a physical campaign: products, samples, signage, T-shirts, banners, flyers, etc.
- Research to back up your claims and campaign
- Business cards and contact details to pass out or prominently displayed on your website or at your event
When you have all of the necessary things that are listed above they will support your business in its PR campaign. When it comes to setting up, having this information on hand will be helpful in the future for other PR or smaller campaigns that you want to run throughout the year. The research is a major component of setting up your PR. Making sure that you are targeting the correct groups of people and age brackets is incredibly important to getting optimum attendance to your events or interaction online.
Make Your Campaign Interesting
Many campaigns that PR companies or departments come up with are confusing or misunderstood by their audiences (looking at you Starbucks), making a lot of them feel put off or even sometimes angry at companies. When it comes to businesses, especially small businesses, press coverage can make or break your company, the more information you have out there about your business that is easily accessible to anyone that wants to see it, the better. The hard part though is to make this information interesting. There’s nothing that can kill a business PR or sales than boring your targeted audience and losing potential conversions. Instead of trying to sell them on things, try to inform/entertain/excite them first, and then get them to convert. Sales messages and media stories are two very different types of writing, so make sure you are using the correct type of writing and have a ‘hook’ to draw them into your campaign. When you’re doing it on your own, at first campaigns will be a matter of trial and error, but once you’ve done enough of them it will be easy to tell what works and what doesn’t.
Social Media Works for You
One of the fastest and most efficient ways of getting in touch with your audience is social media and many major and small companies have taken great advantage of it. Millions of people are actively involved and have social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and more. The major goal of PR is to communicate with your audience, and with social media, you can do that on a regular basis, as well as interact and develop relationships with them. So, make sure you actually think like your target audience when talking to them.
Ohio University’s infographic The Types of Social media Interactions Businesses Might Encounter illustrates that you will not always have positive interactions with individuals on social media, so making sure that you approach the situation with a clear head, do everything you can to fix it, and learn from what happened, your business will be okay. Some say that negative PR is better than no PR, and while it might be true to an extent when it comes to getting your name recognized, you ultimately want most, if not all, of your PR to be positive.
Hardest Part: Stay Motivated
Now that the PR campaign is up and running (hopefully smoothly), you are ready for social interaction with your potential customers, you have media and flyers released, and other great photos or materials are ready, now what? Apart from anything going wrong with the campaign, it will probably be hard to stay motivated now that your company is getting the attention of the audience you have targeted. At this point, it’s good to start planning creative PR campaigns, media releases, and events that will be in the future.
Continue working on and checking into your other campaign, especially social media, but in order to keep motivated and on top of PR you can: have a strategy for current/future PR campaigns and break down these goals into smaller goals, get help from other employees if you need it, and see the big picture. The last point, seeing the big picture, is important for staying motivated and happy with what you are doing. Knowing and always remembering the reasons why you are doing PR for your business. These reasons could include improving your image, getting your name out there, or generating more sales, but either way, keeping your PR in perspective can help keep your motivation at a high and your campaigns successful.
You can successfully be your own businesses PR and save yourself thousands of dollars for not hiring a PR firm. If you stay motivated, do your research, interact positively with your audience as outlined by Ohio University, and make sure that you have something interesting to say, your businesses can be extremely successful. Once you start doing all of this and gathering the things you need to run a successful campaign, PR hopefully start generating interaction on its own, supporting the campaigns you are running, and making it so your company starts or continues to be a part of people’s discussions.