This month, Haven members had the opportunity to learn from PR specialists, Sarah Irvin and Michele Mooney of Irvin PR. They held a PR Masterclass for Small Business Owners, like you, so we had to share the major takeaways to help you with your marketing and PR efforts. Here they are…
6 Things Every Small Business Owner Should Know About PR
What is PR?
Public relations, or “PR”, is a part of the marketing pie that focuses on earned media. Earned media is mostly free coverage of your brand told by media outlets. PR experts connect your brand to the community through media outlets with a focus on maintaining or improving your brand awareness, reputation, and credibility through positive media stories.
Why is PR important for my small business?
PR has a unique ability to help build up your credibility in the marketplace. When people see you on the news, read about you in the newspaper/magazine/journal, or mentioned as a valuable resource by reputable media sources, they are more likely to trust that you’re legit. That credibility helps potential customers feel more comfortable buying your product, visiting your website, or hiring you for your services.
In addition to building your reputation and credibility, PR can help you with crisis management, SEO support through backlinking, and exposure. It builds on your other messaging to more broadly tell your story and relate it to current events or local happenings.
Can I DIY PR or do I have to hire a professional?
Given that you have commitment and time, it is possible to DIY your PR efforts. BUT, when you hire PR help, you’re tapping into years of trusted media connections and expertise on how to pitch a story.
To DIY it, you will need to put in the time and legwork to build your own media connections, and tell stories with an angle that entices the media to pick up a story you pitch. Start by researching the journalists and broadcasters that share stories like yours to create your media list. Then draft emails to them sharing your story and why it would be worth covering for their audience. And always make sure to follow up with them. Be prepared to hear ‘no’ or no response at all as you work to build your media list through trial and error.
If you have a big launch or story that you need to get out through the media, but you don’t have the time or expertise, it may be time to hire a professional. By hiring a pro, you’ll not only tap into their network right away, but you will also be spared any negative responses while your team works behind the scenes to pitch your story.
What should I ask when hiring a PR professional?
When hiring a PR professional freelancer or agency, you’ll want to make sure you understand the following:
Who will be working on your account?
What are the contract terms?
How often should you expect progress updates?
What is the typical turnaround time for you to review content?
What is their specialty?
How will they recap the work they do for you and show ROI?
How much should I budget for PR help?
There is low-cost, project-based help via Upwork.com where you can provide the scope of what you need along with your budget and professionals can apply for the work. Areas, where this might help you the most, would be content writing, influencer research, or blogger relations.
Freelance PR professionals are typically mid-range. Many freelancers offer hourly or retainer options that range from $50-150/hour. Since you’d be hiring just them and not a team, you will want to be sure to choose a professional with experience and connections that directly relate to your industry.
If you’re looking for a full-service team, you’ll want to hire a PR agency that can range anywhere from $150-300+/hour. With a well-rounded team, you may have the ability to get much more support across a wider range of earned media relations from traditional media to influencers and bloggers to community connections as well.
Are there any resources that can support my PR efforts?
There are plenty of resources out there that can support your PR efforts right now that for free.
Google Alerts – set up free alerts on keywords in your industry, competitors, and your own company so that you can track what the media is interested in and you can start tracking what journalists and outlets are covering content that relates to you. This is where you start building connections.
Hubspot social media certification – take time to get certified and learn new skills that can help you better with influencer and blogger relations. Much of that is built through credibility on social media.
If part of your goals for the year includes increasing your brand awareness, improving your credibility, attracting influencers/bloggers to your brand, or community engagement then PR should be part of your marketing strategy. The takeaways from Irvin PR were incredibly helpful for Haven members and we hope you were able to snag a tip or two to start implementing right away.
For more content like this, growth opportunities for yourself or your business, and to connect with fellow entrepreneurs and freelancers, join Haven Collective today. You’ll receive weekly member-only content like this to help you focus on what matters while growing your business.