Creating a P.R. Plan
To get started on a p.r. effort, there are three relatively simple steps you can take:
I. Think through your audiences
Surprisingly, even large corporations often fail to realize who their audiences actually are. I define "audience" as an individual or group who has any interest or stake in the activities of the business. This can reach far beyond just your customers. It's likely that your audiences include the local media, your neighbors and surrounding community, current/ former employees and their families, vendors/suppliers, government regulators/agencies at several levels and your competitors. And remember, audiences--friendly or not--have the power to communicate information about you.
II. Develop a p.r. plan
This need not be complex. In simplest terms a p.r. plan consists of a few steps:
Objectives--identify your goals and what you want to accomplish for your business.
Positioning--decide how you want to be perceived by your audiences. As the best quality personal tax adviser in town, or the least expensive business tax preparer?
Key messages--prioritize the most important facts about your business.
Once you have developed these core concepts, you can create:
Strategy--how you can accomplish your objectives. For example, you may adopt a strategy of marketing your services only to those in a certain age group. Or create the impression that your products are more expensive, but worth their quality. Or position your business as an innovator in a technology instead of just a follower. None of these are new, but remain good illustrations of simple business strategies.
Tactics--the tools or means to carry out your plan. Speeches, articles, sitting on advisory boards, media outreach are all good tactics for small businesses.
III. Develop a relationship with and use the local media
Small businesspersons should never be intimidated by reporters. Especially at local and regional levels, the media are always on the lookout for a new story, a different angle, a fresh approach and therefore, potentially interested in you and what your business is all about. These media outlets, charged with covering their communities, do not have the vast resources of celebrities, well-known experts and satellite feeds. They may very well need you and what you have to say about your field.
When your business gets a significant new customer, moves from your home to a real office, wins a community award or comes up with a solution to a community problem, don't hesitate to call an appropriate reporter. You may not always get coverage, but you have nothing to lose by cultivating these relationships.
In your small business, what do you know, offer, produce, compile, interpret, provide, market, analyze, understand or do better than anyone else? Whatever it is, someone among those audiences wants to hear more about you.
Content developed by Steve Bolerjack