Using PR to boost your business
To know how to use PR to boost your business, you first of all need-to-know what PR is, and most importantly, what it isn’t, there can be a lot of confusion!
PR is reputation management. It’s about how your customer/clients see you and the steps you take to enhance and improve it. It uses social media to spread the word, but it isn’t simply posting on a multitude of channels.
You’ll have seen PR stunts for national brands which are fun and effective but for most businesses’ PR is a long game, building solid pillars of sound business practice, telling your customers who you are and what makes you great to work with.
Never forget that anyone checking out your company, for ANY reason, be it to work for you, work with you or to buy your product/service, will more than likely do some research to find out what makes you tick, so you want your message to be clear and easy to find. Today’s customer and employee wants to see the direction of your ethical compass; they want to know if you are good at your job and the service you provide, if you care about the environment, about the town you live in, the sector you work in and the staff you employ and about the world in general. Essentially, are you the good guys? Your PR strategy should be to make sure you look good on all these fronts.
Where do I start?
Firstly, sit back and take a long, self-critical look at your business and how it looks from the outside. Do you think you come across as open and approachable? Do you display the ethics and standards as discussed above? If a potential new customer does some research on you, what will they find out about you and where will they find it? Do you have a blog? Social media channels? Review sites? There’s no point in being a great company if people don’t know.
Let’s start from the inside out – your staff, your biggest brand ambassadors. Do you invest in regular training both for the jobs they are employed to do and those that would benefit the entire company i.e., first aid responder? Do you pay attention to their mental health, offer any in-house support? If someone asked a member of your staff to rate the company from 1-10 as an employer, what score do you think they’d give? In fact, why not ask? The mere act of asking staff for their thoughts and opinion is a move in the right direction. Testimonials from happy staff is the best PR a company can get. Breed a healthy, happy internal staff culture and watch as your own staff fly the flag for the company wherever they go.
There are two kinds of external PR, reactive and proactive.
Reactive PR is sharing stories of successes you’ve had in the business, anniversaries, contracts you’ve won, events you’ve been involved in, awards you’ve won, people you’ve hired or new services or products you’ve launched. Have you told any of these stories recently?
Proactive PR is going out there and making that news by hosting your own awards ceremony, donating to charity, planting trees, becoming a trustee of a local charity and supporting their work, reducing your carbon footprint, running a survey and sharing the results. How many of these could you adopt?
The final part of all PR work is to tell the world/your audience. Draft a press release, write a blog, record a podcast and share it on social media. Get your news out there.
My Top 5 PR Tips
Make a PR calendar to plan your PR campaigns – you should be planning 6 – 12 months in advance
Take a critical look at your website and rewrite copy if necessary (plus, get all your qualifications to professional bodies/associations/award wins up on that front page. Don’t make the visitor search for the good stuff – share it loud and proud)
Photos, photos, photos. People love people. Minimum 300 dpi – bright, smiley ‘everyone looking at the camera’ photos
Think out of the box – the possibilities for great PR are endless, you just have to think creatively (or, if that’s not your forte, hire a PR firm to do it for you!)
Thank you so much to TBO reader Louise Bruce firstname.lastname@example.org for this contribution. She is currently running a special offer to help companies carry out an audit on their PR, if this sounds good to you make sure to get in contact with her.