As an entrepreneur, your primary focus may be … well, all over the place. From sales to marketing to meetings with investors, the list goes on. When you’re tasked with doing it all, it can be very tough to prioritize.
Here’s where public relations can make your life easier. PR can help you grow your business organically. It can help you find and attract investors and top talent. It can help you solidify your image and expertise in the marketplace. By focusing on PR in those early, chaotic start-up days, you’ll set things in motion that will help grow your business for years to come.
Here I’ll show how you can prioritize your company’s PR strategy using resources you have. First, be honest and ask yourself: What do I have the most of right now?
- Do I have time?
- Do I have money?
- Do I have people?
Based on your answer, check out the strategies below to get the ball rolling in at least one direction. A mix of all four “PESO” strategies – paid, earned, owned and shared media – is ideal, but it’s seldom realistic for start-ups. So, think big … start small. Empowered is a way better feeling than overwhelmed. In time, you’ll be able to build in more time and resources to broaden your PR strategy.
Notice I’ve left out paid media. While there are big benefits to including paid media in your overall marketing plan, I focus here on three organic avenues that can help you achieve the public image you desire.
Do you have time? ⇒ Earned media
Media relations takes time. On a micro-level, writing press materials, doing media research and outreach, and measuring your tactics take time. On a macro-level, media relations does not translate into overnight success, and be wary of any “pro” who says otherwise or “guarantees” coverage. It’s called earned for a reason – you have to work for it and it will take time.
Create small, manageable plans for your team to execute. Focus on local media to start, and just one angle of the business, like recruitment. Or target your industry’s trade publications in order to get the word out about your product or service. These small initiatives are great opportunities to build your media lists and introduce yourself to reporters and editors. Also, use this time to develop your key messages and make sure you are expertly trained to handle media interviews.
Do you have money? ⇒ Owned media
If you have the financial resources, consider working with a digital marketing agency to design or redesign, and optimize, your website and other channels you can own – such as a blog or email marketing. While this may be an investment up front, a great website, content and email strategy gives you the tools you need to rank in search, create a great user experience and gather data to prove ROI. If you don’t have time or in-house Web development talent, this can be a great project to outsource.
Do you have people? ⇒ Shared media
If your biggest asset right now is a great team, use them to get involved in the shared space. Maybe your office administrator has killer writing skills. Empower them to create an editorial calendar for your business and write compelling content for your social media channels. Or maybe someone on staff is an amateur photographer, or can rock Photoshop and InDesign. Ask them to create shareable visuals for social media. Delegate someone in your office to engage with customers and follow industry conversations on social media. People are a precious resource; let them get involved in areas that they’re interested in and you’ll create a team of ambassadors for your business as well.
Jump in, and ask us on Twitter @ervinandsmith if you have questions along the way about building a digital presence that stands out.