Do small businesses really need a PR strategy? In a word, yes.
Every business or organisation that depends on trading goods, services or information needs a way to get its message to prospective customers. For small businesses in particular, the cost-effective nature of do-it-yourself PR makes it an absolute must.
Here are just a few of the ways that a planned, strategic approach to PR can be hugely important to a small business’s growth and success.
Help to define your proposition and identify your target customers
Creating a PR and media relations strategy will help to clarify and focus the minds of a business’s leaders on exactly what it is they are selling and who they want to sell it to. The day-to-day struggles and demands of running a small business mean that ‘thinking time’ is often seen as a luxury beyond reach. Dedicating time to planning your strategic marketing communications will simultaneously shine a light on the areas of your business that need promotion and those that need improvement.
Find more customers, make more salesMany small businesses assume that, short of paying big money for advertising space, there is no way for them to secure the media coverage they need to find new customers. While regular coverage in national papers or TV channels may be unlikely, there are countless ways a small business can cultivate relationships with key media titles, for example, local newspapers or local community group newsletters, trade magazines, online communities and forums, bloggers and social media influencers. Small businesses can then amplify the volume of any media coverage via their own social media accounts too.
Any independent third-party endorsement of your brand via media coverage will help to convert new customers more easily due to increased levels of brand recognition and, therefore, increased levels of trust among consumers.
Find more partners, investors and supporters
That same third-party endorsement and brand recognition can also be very important and influential in helping you to build a network of connections beyond customers that may be vital to the growth of your business: suppliers and partner organisations to help you create new products or access new markets; investors to provide you with funds for rapid growth; brand supporters and ambassadors who will help you spread your message even further.
Find more talent
As your business grows, you’ll want to attract the right people to help you take things to the next level. Faced with two equally-paid job offers from two different employers, the vast majority of candidate would select the brand they recognise most, i.e. the employer with the biggest public profile. An active PR strategy could be crucial to you securing the talent you need, both today and tomorrow.
Find your voice
The pressures on small business leaders make it easy for them to exist inside their own mental bubble and lose touch with wider industry. Developing and enacting your own PR strategy helps to keep you engaged with your customers, your staff and your business sector as whole. What’s more, it helps you to discover and develop your own take on the industry issues of the day and speak knowledgeably and confidently on the matters most important to your business.