As a new business owner, chances are you’re wondering what you can do to build your brand and shape public perception. Public relations is the practice of spreading information and awareness about your company. For new business owners, navigating the PR can be complex.
For starters, it’s important to understand that there are some fundamental differences between public relations and marketing. Public relations is about building a positive image through your marketing channels, while marketing consists of the tactics used to bring in revenue. As a startup, you might not be financially prepared to hire a marketing or PR agency right now. In early days, a grassroots PR campaign can do wonders for your brand. With that in mind, here are a few tips:
Recognize the PR Evolution
Modern PR looks differently than it did a decade ago. To that end, you might be asking yourself, what is digital PR? Digital PR embodies the evolution of public relations. The traditional PR approach is highly siloed and impersonal, and often focused entirely around pushing press releases to publications.
But with so many businesses opting for the same tactics, press releases can easily become lost in the shuffle. Digital PR utilizes online tactics to spread messaging, working with bloggers, influencers, and journalists to build their digital presence. Digital PR also emphasizes content creation and social dialogue to shape public opinion, which are critical in today’s consumerism model.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a tool that connects journalists with sources. This can be a phenomenal tool for business owners who can offer valuable advice to media employees who need expert input for their content. Every day, HARO sends several emails containing requests for sources from journalists, bloggers, and writers across every niche. Some of the biggest publishers use HARO for their stories, and you can score a valuable press mention by scouring these daily emails for opportunities.
Work With Micro Influencers
Influencer marketing has become instrumental in the brand building arena. Studies have shown that, on average, businesses make $18 for every $1 they spend on influencer marketing. Today, you can choose from a myriad of influencer marketing platforms to help get you started, at a range of price points that offer versatility for your business. These tools are pretty straightforward: set up your account, search for influencers in your niche, and shortlist the candidates that seem like a great fit based on their profile(s) and or social channels.
Micro influencers are particularly notable here because they are cost-effective and the data shows they produce results. Micro influencers either charge low rates per post or accept products in exchange for content. They have much higher engagement rates that macro influencers and often have trusting relationships with their followers.
Micro influencers are also a great option if your business operates locally. For example, as a coffee shop in NYC, you might want to work with micro influencers in the Brooklyn area who can really drive customers to your shop through word of mouth referrals and social influence.
Sending an email costs nothing. Pitching is the process of sending cold emails to journalists, bloggers, or influencers detailing who your brand is and what they have to offer. Ideally, your pitch is engaging enough for them to want to include you in their story or feature you. Start by creating a list of outlets that your target market are most likely to turn to. Then, select a handful of them to reach out.
One of the most important tips to keep in mind when pitching is that each pitch should be customized to the recipient. Chances are they receive pitches often, and they know when one of their emails is a standard copy and paste. Think about why your brand aligns with their market and why it would be beneficial for their readers.
Furthermore, keep it short. A long, winding email is sore on the eyes, and chances are the recipient isn’t going to take their time to read an extensive unsolicited email. Keep your intro to 2-3 sentences, include 3-5 bullet points (of no more than three sentences each), and sum it up with a 2-3 sentence outro.