Public Relations Basics For Small Businesses

October 21, 2011

Press Pass With Lanyard-2

How are you spreading good news about your company?

If you don’t have a formal plan or aren’t currently capitalizing on public relations don’t fret, you are aren’t alone. Most small businesses are in the same boat.

However, public relations is an extremely valuable marketing tool for the small businesses who capitalize on news about their company to get media attention.  Public Relations is a very cost-effective way to advertise your business.

Before you get started, here are a few public relations basics that you should work on and have prepared in advance before you start contacting the media to get the word out.  Working on these basics will form the basis of a press kit that can be deployed with any press releases you want to write when you have news to share, you will have the bulk of the work already done.

For most companies, press kit essentials are:

  • A company fact sheet
    • This is the who, what, where, when and why about your business.
    • Use this fact sheet to give the 10,000 feet view of the company: Keep it simple and keep it to one page
  • A Frequently  Asked Questions Sheet
    • This isn’t a must have for every business but if your company is not easily summarized on a fact sheet or your business is fairly technical, then a fact sheet is where you can flesh out more details
  • A one-pager on each of your main product lines
    • If you already have product fact-sheet as part of your sales collateral it can be repurposed here as a cost-effective, time-saving solution
    • If you don’t have one-pager fact sheets in your sales kit, then no better time then the present  to put them together.
Once you have created your basic press kit, you can make distribution of your press kit simple by housing it on your corporate website.  What I find effective is to create an online “press room” where you post your press releases as well as your press kit.  But you can put it wherever it makes most sense to you on your site.  Of course, you don’t have to house it digitally on your website, you can have a printed press kit that you send out to the media or your can have it electronically and distribute it as attachments to your emails to media, that is what some companies do, however, I just find it much more simple
Once you have created a home for your press kit online then you can place a link to your press kit in each press release and communication with the media by simply stating “for more information on Company X, please see our corporate press kit here.” 
One last suggestion, if/when you create your online press kit, also add to an online press kit hi-resolution corporate logos, brand logos, executive photos and product photos, if applicable.
You see, one of the biggest things to remember in public relations, anything you can do to make a reporters life easier, the further you will go toward actually getting that reporter to make the effort to tell your story. So, if you provide him or her with easily accessible background information, facts, anecdotes, graphics, logos, etc, you have gone a long way toward taking all of the legwork out of writing your story.
So what do you think? Not too difficult, right? If you have a press kit, does it include any items that I failed to mention? Please share it here so we can all think about whether it makes sense for our press kits as well.
Next up: Press Releases 101–what to report, how to write them and how do you get them distributed? 

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