If you’re a small business owner, you know you need to get your brand out there! And I'll be the first to say that PR is definitely on the list of ways you can build a successful business.
But here’s the thing —
It’s easy to get ahead of yourself and end up costing yourself more time and money than you need to be spending upfront.
I’m Micaela Schuffman, founder of Symbiotic PR, a boutique public relations agency specializing in sustainable CPG and green brands. I’ve worked with lots of new businesses and entrepreneurs looking for PR help, and these are five of the most valuable tips I’d share with any new business owner when you’re getting started with PR.
Okay, Micaela, you say, how do I know when I’m ready? How do I know if I’ve got my bases covered?
Let’s get into the weeds with this a bit and talk about what you need to know and how to do it well. Read on — this article is full of the PR advice you’ve been looking for.
First things first! Don't get ahead of yourself.
Before you dive into public relations, you want to have all your product and service bases covered. You don’t really need to worry about PR until you’ve got a complete website, actual product in hand, and all of the nitty-gritty logistics sorted out.
Before You Call the PR Agency
Before you make any moves, get your story straight. You know the essentials of your business. Make sure they’re sound, clear, and ready to be shown off to the public!
Be the business you want your potential customers to see. Then and only then are you ready to get started with PR.
The truth is reporters will not want to feature a brand that looks unfinished. From a PR perspective, if it doesn’t look legit, it’s not! That’s why it’s absolutely necessary to take care of all of those pieces before you start putting yourself out there with PR.
…like the back of your hand. PR is about creating brand awareness. It’s our job to get your message out to the people!
That means it’s essential that you are clear about what that message is before we start talking you up. To do that, you’ve got to know your audience.
Figure out what your target audience is reading. Find out where they shop. Learn something about their day-to-day lives. Check out what other brands are doing to get to know their target audience and make impactful PR choices on this LinkedIn post.
Get the Marketing Support You Need
If you need help figuring out this information, reach out! We’ve got connections with the best of the best who can help you
so your PR can literally take you to the next level.
You’ll want to do this work long before you get to PR because this helps shape your brand, your aesthetic, your voice, and the marketing tactics you use to let people know about your product.
If you’re looking for an example, check out my brilliant client Humble. Check out their product pages, like this one for the Autumn Enchantment variety pack — their brand is so clear. It makes their PR campaigns exponentially more effective and impactful!
I obviously love working with brands to get the word out, but sometimes new businesses just aren’t ready to hire a PR firm to do their public relations. When a boutique PR agency experience isn’t quite in your budget, it’s time to get hands-on.
Here are some simple ways you can get your brand out there, get it into people’s minds and hearts, and begin your small business PR yourself.
What kind of publicity do you value? Where are brands like yours represented in a way that matches your interests?
Check out reporters who cover trends, products, and brands related to yours. Lots of these folks would be receptive to a DM, so give it a try!
Take the information you have, use your brand voice, and pitch your upcoming event, launch, or redesign to some reporters.
Do the work to get seen and make it count! Strategize throughout your process, and use your tools like your website and social media to maximize the impact of your PR efforts.
PR is not advertising. Guaranteed coverage is never a thing.
Growing brand awareness is not a one-size-fits-all project. Even though something works great for you the first go-round, you may find you have completely different results the next.
So Much More than a Press Release
A really good press release can launch you forward, but there’s a lot of work that goes into your PR before and after that letter gets sent.
Quality PR professionals know to measure success in the long term, and they’re working to support you in playing that long game. In this case, it’s a bit out of your hands, which of course can be frustrating. But there are things you can do to ensure you have PR success.
One of the best ways to get the most from your PR initiatives is to start early! If you have a launch coming up in the next year, begin your PR plans now. That way there’s plenty of time to get on the radar of the right reporters and get your message out there before your big day.
You know how easy it is to get caught up in the practicalities of running a business. The day-to-day tasks take over, and it’s totally possible to forget what you’re really here for. So, since we’re on the subject, let’s take a minute to think about that right now. What is it about your product and your brand that stands out in the crowd?
You don’t just need to stand out, though.
You need to know how you stand out.
It can be tricky to set yourself apart. Lots of us are passionate about our products, and some entrepreneurs get caught up thinking that their product is the best thing since sliced bread.
The reality is that you’ve got competition. How are you different? What is it that distinguishes you from your competition? This is your chance to get into the details about what makes you, your brand, and your product special.
These five tips are a brilliant place to start when you’re considering PR for your small business. If you were to reach out to me today, these are the things we’d talk about first. There are probably infinite ways you might connect with your audience, so take care of these dos and don’ts so you can move on to the next steps with confidence.
As a small business owner and entrepreneur, you know how unique your circumstances are. Typical business suggestions don’t always fit, and somehow there’s always more for you to do than you have time for in the day.
Whether you are ready to DIY your small business PR or you’re on the hunt for a boutique PR agency to meet your needs, remember to be on the lookout for the PR relationships that will best meet your needs.
Connect with people — marketing support, reporters, and a PR team — who understand your brand and will support your vision.
I hope you’re feeling well-informed with some new tools under your belt when it comes to PR. Maybe you’ve got some work to do, or maybe you’re clear about these questions and eager for the next steps.
If reading this has you feeling confident that you’re ready for more, let’s get started today.
Symbiotic PR offers custom public relations packages for small businesses and emerging brands to amplify your voice and grow your audience. We prioritize timely meetings and clear communication to ensure we’re doing our job in supporting you and your PR goals.
If you want to learn more about Symbiotic PR, you can get to know me and my work a bit better on our website. Find out more about my team of brilliant publicists, marketing professionals, and collaborators at symbioticpr.com. And check out this sweet feature, From the Founder: Micaela Schuffman on Creating Symbiotic PR.
Next on your to-do list? Schedule a complimentary call to learn more about how Symbiotic PR can help your small business with the public relations services you need.