Many small to medium sized companies can struggle to identify the best way of creating a buzz around their business. Advertising is fairly straightforward, but public relations may seem like a dark art until you know how to approach it. Here are five steps to set you on your way.
- Decide who you are targeting.
Who is your key audience at this point in the development of your business? Is it customers, the general public, peers within your industry, shareholders or someone else? Identify the main targets you aim to reach and you are well on your way towards the first stage of developing your own PR plan.
- Research, research, research
Once you have identified this key audience, your next task is to discover what they read and how they read it. Your shareholders may take the Sunday Times every weekend, but your peers probably subscribe to the industry press specific to your trade. It sounds simple, but work out what is interesting about your business, and that will result in people being interested in you.
- Choose your medium
Different PR mediums have different results. Do you need a press release? Would you like to submit an award entry? Should you be building your presence on social media? Do you need new web copy? Would you like to appear in features written by a third party, or will some straightforward advertising copy suffice?
- Do it!
Now it’s time to get on with it and put your PR plan into action. Do your research, write, promote, make contacts and get training or advice if you need to. Your first ‘win’ will feel fantastic, and make all the hard work and effort worthwhile.
This is an essential aspect of your PR activity and one which should be ongoing. Reflect on your original key audience – how successful have you been in targeting them? Did you achieve your goal and can you build on that achievement? How could you do it differently next time, or even better? Or do you need to re-evaluate now because your target market has changed?
Most importantly – keep going! The more effort you put in to your PR the more you will get out of it. Good luck!
Lucy Smith is a communications professional and former journalist offering bespoke Public Relations services and training to businesses in Surrey and further afield. For more information please visit: @LucySmithUK