When you run a small business, you’re responsible for everything. From production to payroll, you have to manage it all — and that includes finding time to get your business noticed. A solid media relations strategy can help you stand out from the crowd and draw in new customers.
You may think you don’t have time for public relations. Fortunately, there a number of tools available to help you find some time in the spotlight. Here are three quick and easy ways to get your business noticed without spending a fortune on advertising.
Reach Out to Local Media
One of the most effective ways to draw in new customers is through a news story on your business. However, unless you’ve developed a truly remarkable product or made a breakthrough in your field, you’re probably not going to have much luck showing up on CNN right away.
Instead of aiming high and subsequently crashing to the ground, start small. Take some time to think about what makes your business different. What have you done that is newsworthy? Does your product or service solve an important problem in your area? Who do you think would benefit from your help?
Look up the email addresses, LinkedIn profiles or phone numbers of some local reporters. Write a short pitch that explains your business and why you think something you’ve done is newsworthy. If you’re friendly, engaging and have a truly good product, chances are they’ll be interested in covering you.
Start a Social Media Campaign
A great myth about social media is that it’s incredibly time-consuming. Sure, Twitter can be addictive and it’s easy to lose hours browsing through tags on Tumblr, but social media is also a great way to find new business or get yourself noticed. The key is to post great content that is just as share-worthy as your product or service. Maxwell Systems uses their Facebook page to keep their fans updated about the construction industry, as well as engages fans with funny content that is easy to share (see featured image above.)
Spend an hour or two looking around to see where your potential customers gather — are they chatting in LinkedIn groups or “liking” pages on Facebook? Pick out some news websites or individuals you’d like to engage with for eventual coverage, and find out where they are as well. Use your newfound knowledge to start up a social media campaign designed to draw attention to yourself.
Join a LinkedIn group, position yourself as a thought leader and post relevant content and links — then ask for coverage. You can send private messages to reporters on Twitter asking if they’d be interested in covering you or doing a writeup on your business. Or maybe Facebook is the best option for you, considering their inexpensive, pay-as-you-go ads program.
The important thing about social media for small businesses is to stick to your guns. Pick one (or two, if you’re up to it) “main” platform, and work on it every day. Plan your content in advance, and be ready to chat with whoever engages you. Don’t abandon your page or campaign just because you think “it’s not working.” Remember: all good things take time!
Hand Out Business Cards or Flyers
In this digital era, it seems like you can’t go a week without hearing someone proclaiming “print is dead!” Not so fast. It may seem old-fashioned, but business cards, flyers and other printed promotional material is still one of the fastest — and most inexpensive — ways to draw in potential clients.
Business cards are often seen as a way for customers to understand at a glance what it is that you do and perhaps even what your personality is like. Creative business cards, like the construction attorney whose card breaks in two, will definitely leave an impression on their recipients!
You might be worried about the cost of professional business cards. However, you can download free business card templates and print them at home on cardstock or paper, then simply cut to size. Starting from a template is especially helpful for anyone who is short on time or doesn’t have a graphic designer at their disposal.
These are just a few ideas for embarking on a successful media relations campaign for a small business. What have you done in the past to draw attention to your small business?