Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Remember: PR Does Not Equal Press Release

When it comes to public relations, the first thought that comes to mind to most small business owners is "issue a press release!" While press releases are part of the PR arsenal, they are not the end-all, be-all. There are numerous other components you also need to focus on in order to generate PR for your small business. Here are a few other key actions you should also spend time on:

1) Build relationships with journalists
You'll get more traction when you issue a press release if you have an established relationship with your key media contacts. Regularly try to either help journalists or comment on their recent work. They'll appreciate your help and feedback, and will be more likely to want to help you in return. 

2) Create unique events
From contests to giveaways, build off an event with another business or create one on your own. Generate buzz with something creative and out-of-the-box. You could even offer a media-only event to give your new journalist friends a sneak preview of a new product or service.

3) Give back to your community (local or virtual)
Whether you operate a brick-and-mortar business, or you're strictly online, finding ways to give back to your community can garner positive PR. For one month, offer to donate a percentage of your proceeds to your favorite charity or a non-profit aligned with your business. For example, a dog-walking business may selected a local animal shelter to support.

4) Network online through social media
Building relationships online is just as important as your media contacts. Engage through a variety of online channels that makes sense for your small business. Are you an artist? Be sure to use Pinterest. Offer small business services, join groups on Linked In geared towards that audience.

5) Keep learning
When it comes to PR, nothing is more important than continuing to learn about public relations. A strong PR campaign takes time and consistency to garner the best results.  Whether you're completely new to PR, or a veteran, personal development is always beneficial.

How do you view PR? Are you addicted to press releases, or do you dabble in more innovative methods?