How PR can help your small business grow

How PR can help your small business grow

PR is essential to your business’ growth. I guess I would say that. But, let’s have a quick think about the entrepreneurs and brands around you that you love, admire, even aspire to be more like.  I would put my money on the fact they’re great at PR – getting their brand visible, telling their story and connecting deeply with their audiences.

PR tends to be seen as a nice-to-have for big businesses and ambitious influencers; there’s an assumption it means mega budgets and huge campaigns. Possibly a little Ab Fab sprinkled into the mix. The reality is, that in this fast-evolving landscape, where traditional media is merging evermore with social, the playing field is wide open for you. And, as a creative business owner, here’s how PR can elevate your brand.

PR as a business strategy
When people tell me their business “needs” PR, my response is “why?” Are you looking to raise your profile as an industry influencer over the long-term or thinking short-term – getting  people along to a launch event, maybe? Is it about reaching more customers or are you looking to publicise your new book?

Being clear on where PR sits in your business is the first step to PR success; it’s why I recommend creating a business vision from the outset. A one-off splash in a national will be lovely for confidence, ego and to share with your friends, but it’s not going to lead to transformative sales forever. You have to be in this for the long-term.

It tells the story behind the business
Story telling is a powerful way to connect with your audience. As the remarkable Seth Godin says, “People buy relations, stories and magic.” Understanding your passion behind building a sustainable, ethical brand can be the difference between a customer choosing your candle line over another.  Or knowing the backstory to your dream of opening a lifestyle shop which serves coffee and locally made cake, may mean a customer will go the extra step – and expense – to purchase a t-shirt from you, rather than a bigger, slightly faceless retailer. Tell your story. Build that direct trust and connection.

Build influence through PR
PR is a brilliant way to become known as the expert in your field – whether you’re a blogger, a yoga teacher, a stylist, photographer or a specialist marketeer.  By building relationships with journalists and contributing to comment opportunities, articles and interviews, you’ll gradually build a reputation as the go-to in your industry.  This builds authority and trust in your brand and your business.  Don’t forget too, that a journalist covering your business – because they think your product is relevant and beneficial to their readers – brings so much more credibility than simply buying the equivalent advert space. Let’s not even discuss costs there!

It also leads to other opportunities – be it potential speaker slots, influencer events or to feature as a guest on a podcast.  All this supports the momentum of building your profile, and in turn, gives you more to promote.

PR supports your content marketing
We’re all so busy as busy owners. A bank of editorial content – be it a top tips feature in a key trade publication or a snippet in Psychologies – can feed into your content marketing. And sharing coverage again underpins your credibility and authority – with customers, and with other journalists who may well keep you front of mind for a feature or piece they’re working on in the future.

You can re-purpose your content too – for example, refresh an advice-led article for a blog post – helping you maintain a positive content funnel. Timely and relevant telling of your story also keeps your business’ SEO rankings healthy.

It boosts the bottom line
PR is a vital component of the marketing mix. And ultimately, it’s about reaching your bottom line, in terms of leads and sales. Be mindful, it’s not a quick win.  PR is about relationships which take time to build, require investment and thoughtful ways to help journalists.  If you’re looking for an instant business fix, you’re probably better off directing your time and money elsewhere – Facebook ads or owned media. But if you’re serious about building a considered, trusted and respected reputation over time, your business will reap the rewards of great PR for years to come.  The even better news is, you can start today.