Avoid Costly PR Mistakes In Your Small Business

Some of the top CEOs in the world have come under fire recently due to PR mistakes in their  companies. While PR is a critical aspect for any business – helping to shape how  the public views a company – it can very often make or break a small business.  Here are some vital tips to heed to avoid costly PR mistakes of your own:

  • Don’t dismiss bloggers. Blogging is the new media and the  number of influential bloggers is growing daily. More and more people are  turning to blogs to garner information on the people and companies they do  business with. If you have (or want) a blogger interested in your business or  products, you need to spend time fostering that relationship. For a small  business, this can be done in simple ways such as liking the blogger’s Facebook  page, interacting with him or her on Twitter and sharing or posting comments on  their content on an ongoing basis (not just when you want them to pay attention  to you). A blogger scorned can make for very bad PR.
  • Writing a press release isn’t enough. Press releases can be  an effective way to get the media interested in whatever your business is doing.  But just writing one isn’t enough – it will take a little homework on your end  to get to know the reporters that cover your business area and why they  would/should/could be interested in reading your news. Be sure you read what  they write on a regular basis, understand how your news might fit into that “beat” and provide them with an angle that is compelling to their readers  specifically.
  • Trust your PR agency. Public relations agencies get paid to  help their clients and are attune to handling situations that might be new to  you. The best ones will never give bad or ill-timed advice and if you have invested in them – assuming you went through a strategic process to choose them – you need to let  them do the job you hired them to do. Listen to what they say, ensure they  aren’t “yes men” (they should push back and/or question the status quo) and  create a partnership with them. Agency relationships fail when clients  hire experts and then try to control every aspect of what they do, rather than  trusting their counsel.
  • Have a plan. You cannot control everything – but you can  plan for most things. Have a strategic communications plan with clear goals, and  also plan for the inevitable crisis so that if it happens, you can react  appropriately. Too many companies fail to properly and swiftly address a crisis – including clear messages to its customers as well as the media – and suffer  the consequences for it, which can include losing trust from your most valuable  constituents.
  • Don’t fail to invest. I don’t mean investing capital to  start your business; I mean investing in your brand on an ongoing basis.  Updating photography and sales media are two very simple ways to  invest in your brand.
  • Know your company’s marketing goals. You have to know and  understand your marketing goals prior to investing in PR. PR is, in essence, an  extension of marketing. You would never leave on a trip without a destination;  make your marketing goals your PR destination. PR should also encompass a part  of your business plan. What is the company trying to accomplish  overall? Align your strategies and goals accordingly.
  • Target audiences appropriately. If you are selling hearing  aid batteries, you may want to rent a billboard near a hospital, not the one by  the local university . Understanding your target audience – who they are, where  they are, what they need and want – is crucial to maximizing your PR and  marketing dollars.

Overall, the best tip is to construct your business practices, ethics, and PR  strategies to ensure that people are always saying good things about your  business. Sharing content, ideas and news that’s helpful to your core audiences  is a great way to ensure that happens – and that PR is working for your  company.

SOURCE

Posted on October 18, 2012, in Public Relations, small business and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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