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If you have a small business, you may think PR is not for you. Wrong! PR is especially for small businesses.  The difference is that a budget-conscious small business doesn’t have the luxury of hiring a high-priced PR firm. But it can find a low-priced one – one such as ours that aims to help small and medium-sized businesses grow. Or, you might try to devise an effective PR strategy yourself.

Nowadays, there are plenty of ways for small businesses to design and manage their own PR campaigns. For starters, social media has made it easier for small businesses to get the attention of editors and reporters. And most journalists are happy to make direct contact with a direct source.

Another plus? Media is no longer limited to traditional news. There are now plenty of influential bloggers, YouTubers, online publications and podcasts that can be leveraged to help you advertise.

While small businesses don’t really need an expensive PR firm to promote themselves, they do need a solid, professional strategy to help them reach the “ears” of the media. Here are six creative and effective strategies that might help you build a PR plan for small businesses.

1. Create a compelling story! PR is especially for small businesses.

The surest way to get a reporter/blogger/editor to write about you and your business is to get their attention. And the way you do that is with good stories. Focus on what’s unique about your business, whether that’s the product or the services you offer, the culture you’ve built, the problem you solve, the way you hire or the way you give back. Topics like this give a reporter the opportunity to report on something truly new or something of human interest. Does your small business do something unique that can be tied to a holiday or event? Let’s say your business makes a special effort to hire veterans or people with disabilities.  This is a good story that will pique the interest of journalists. Or what if your company takes steps to minimize its carbon footprint? That’s something to release before Earth Day.

2. Promote your expertise (and that of others in your business)!

One way to get mentioned in the press is to promote yourself as an expert in your industry, your niche, your sector. Send this to finance reporters from newspapers, magazines, business news sites and other publications. So, when they do stories around taxation, they can quote you.

3. Sponsor and participate in charity and community events! PR is especially destined for small businesses.

As a small business, you can promote yourself by supporting local NGOs. Either by helping sponsor an event, operating a booth at the local festivals and fairs, or forming a team to participate in a fundraiser.

4. Contact the influencers in your industry!

Public relations are not just about media coverage, but ultimately about building relationships. Do your research and identify bloggers, YouTubers and reporters who cover your industry, niche or market and reach out to them. Keep in regular communication with these influencers so that you are at the top of their contact list when they are looking for businesses to talk about or write about.

5. Create a media kit and store it in the cloud!

Do you wonder “What is a media kit?” right now? It’s just a package of information about your business, created for the media. It gives reporters and editors all the data and images they need to write about your business! Almost all larger companies have media kits and you’ll look reassured and professional if you do too. Use a cloud storage service such as Dropbox to store PDF versions of your kit as well as several high-resolution images. Every time you pitch a story about your company or you as an expert, include a link to the media kit. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. A short, one-page text will give editors all the information they need to know.

6. Use Google Alerts.

It can be difficult to know if and how your efforts are paying off, but one way to keep track is to use Google Alerts. It’s simple to use – create a Google Alert by entering a “search query” – things such as your company name, your competitors’ names, your industry and any other relevant keywords. Whenever these terms appear on the web, Google sends an alert to your email address. It’s a good way to monitor your business presence on the web, to see what your competitors are doing and what people are saying about your business and your competitors’ businesses.