In 1964 Bob Dylan sang ‘times they are a’changing’ and keep changing they do. As a small business owner, keeping up with all the changes is almost a full time job.
With Facebook constantly changing the rules of engagement, Google changing their SEO rules, new players like Pinterest showing up on the block, new marketing strategies…when do you sleep, let alone run a business?
Over the past few years, since the dreaded GFC, spending by all has been pulled back. For the savvy business owner finding new innovative ways to get your products and services to prospective customers and clients is a challenge especially with tighter budgets.
Many businesses are dramatically reducing their PR budgets or not bothering with PR at all. I think this is a huge mistake. Even if you pay a small agency to develop and implement a PR plan for you, you are still ahead of the game. Why? Because when you weigh up the cost of advertising (with very little return), you do come out ahead because nothing locks in credibility more than someone else saying you are good or by you giving with no expectations in return.
What is great about the how the world has changed is there are so many people you can reach out to share your message. There are bloggers, tweeters, online forums, websites, newspaper – online and offline, radio programs, newsletter, networking events, conferences…
I know I am biased but I recommend using a small agency – someone who connects with you and your business, buys into your passion and excitement about what you are doing. You want someone who not can do the work for you and with you but also teach you along the way.
By using a small agency, especially one that specialise in PR training, you will learn the skills you need to be able to DIY PR. Another great saying ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’ I know you have a full plate just running your business, but by learning basic PR skills and spending a few hours a month implementing your plan, you can get publicity for free.
PR does need to be part of your overall marketing strategy. The real value of public relations lies in being consistent (plan, plan, plan), getting consistent media coverage and not giving up. If you are expecting to become an overnight media star, I urge you to rethink. As with any strategy, getting free publicity does take time. Building the relationships with the media and getting coverage is at a minimum a three month plan but in reality can take six months to crack the media.
Before you say ‘my business is boring’…go talk to someone not in your business about what you do. Spend 30 minutes sharing with them all you do and I bet they uncover some great story ideas you have not considered.