A St. Louis Public Relations professional, I am often asked if public relations can work for a small business.
The answer is “yes”.
Even on a lesser scale, the basics of creating a PR campaign for a small business are virtually the same as creating one for a large corporation.
It involves analyzing your business goals and determining what type of objective you would like to achieve.
Is your goal to increase hits on your web site, build greater trust with your customers and prospects, develop community awareness, or to simply let the marketplace know what products and services you are selling?
Once you establish your goal then you need to identify which audiences you need to reach in line with your objective.
Are your trying to reach other small business owners, presidents of larger corporations, a very select business to business audience, selected consumers, or the general public at large?
After you identify these target markets the next step is to develop a strategy and the tactics necessary to reach them.
This is accomplished by creating a mini-campaign for each audience within the overall PR plan.
For example, let’s say your overall PR goal is to influence 30 new prospective customers to engage with you and your sales staff with the hope of turning them into clients.
One of your target audiences could be widget makers. Your objective with widget makers is to create 10 of those 30 prospective engagements.
Your tactics would then include developing a myriad of activities to build relationships with 10 widget makers.
Those activities could include hosting seminars for widget makers, manning a booth at widget trade shows, speaking at widget conferences, securing articles about your firm in widget publications, emailing newsletters to widget makers, developing a blog about widgets, connecting with widget makers through LinkedIn, etc.
Once the campaign is launched it needs to be analyzed and adjusted as you go along.
Focus on those tactics that work the best and provide the greatest return on investment. This is especially important for small companies who are usually on a limited budget.
Remember to keep it measurable. This is where a number of small business PR campaigns run out of steam.
If you plan to hit the 10 widget maker mark in six months, you will need to create 5 engagements within the first 90 days. Should you hit or exceed the 5 mark after 90 days you will feel confident that your campaign is on track.
Connect only with one or two widget makers in the first three months and you might have to adjust your strategy.
Whether your PR budget is $5,000 or $5 million the basic strategies of a public relations campaign remain the same.
It works for small companies as well as large ones. The first step is to create a goal and get started.