Small businesses and PR are like Oil & Vinegar. They can be at odds, tasting acidic and unctuous without accomplishing anything special; or they can be vigorously combined and result in a unique product that pleases the palate and makes the mealtime more memorable.
Okay, call me a hopeless foodie with that comparison – but it’s accurate. Small business PR can help small businesses in many surprising ways, but it can also fall short of its true potential and leave a bitter taste in the mouth.
Here are some common mistakes small businesses make when contemplating and executing PR:
- Fail to plan for success: perhaps the most common mistake made, and one that can be rectified with just a little strategic planning. Some small businesses approach PR like it’s a one-and-done event rather than an ongoing component of a marketing strategy.
- Give up too easily: sometimes when small businesses do decide to use PR and they don’t see any immediate results (e.g., an article about them in the local newspaper), they may dismiss PR as ineffective or just not applicable to their particular business.
- Fail to experiment: when at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Many small businesses fail to tinker with PR until they find the right formula for success.
- Ignore or miss current trends: sometimes the best opportunities for media coverage are trending in today’s news. Because many small businesses are so busy, they often miss golden opportunities to promote themselves to the local (or even national) news media.
- Forgetting social media: while social media is not the same as PR, failing to do both is a critical error. So many businesses miss out on integrating a PR message with messages on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Confuse marketing with PR: a lot of business owners do their own marketing, which means they may occasionally confuse marketing and PR when it comes time to write a news release and communicate with reporters.
- Think PR is only about a press release: thanks in part to online distribution websites like PRWeb, the press release (or news release as it’s often called by marketers) has become a popular way to communicate with customers and prospects – NOT, however, to the news media.
- Unrealistic expectations: think you should be on Dr. Phil, CNN or the Wall Street Journal? Thinks again.
- Missing the singles: many business owners fail to make the easy “singles” that can get them incremental media coverage and instead swing for the fences only to strike out each time.
- Neglect the trades & blogs: business owners also overlook a potential goldmine of referrals that can come from getting mentioned in industry trades or blogs. These specialized vertical media outlets are often hungry to learn about new innovations and news in general, so ignore them at your own peril.
So enough bashing on small businesses! The good news is that they are only mistakes, and we can all learn from our mistakes, right?
It’s time to take a new, fresh look at PR and start owning it like we do at PR over Coffee everyday! Your business will never look the same if you do.
Got some good suggestions you want to share? Leave a comment below or feel free to visit the PR Over Coffee Facebook page and leave your thoughts (don’t forget to like us)!
About Dave Manzer: In 2009, Dave Manzer founded Swyft, an Austin PR & digital marketing agency for startups and fast-growth businesses. His team specializes in highly integrated PR & inbound marketing strategies that help B2B tech companies around the world reach their goals in brand awareness and revenue growth. If you have any PR questions about your startup or small business, feel free to tweet him at @davemanzer or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.