Public relations (PR) has evolved over the years. Once an industry mostly tied to event creation and promotion, now it’s broader and encapsulates various channels and avenues to access your audience, which means it can offer more value when used correctly.
Getting the word out about your small business is so crucial. The more people that know about you and the more traffic you’re able to get to your site, the higher your chances are of building a robust, high-quality email list. And a quality email list is one of the most important things a small business can have for long-term success. But there are a ton of approaches to consider for these efforts, which means you’ll need assistance wherever possible if you’re going to pull it off.
However, the unfortunate truth is that as a small business, you may not have the deep pockets to hire a high-priced PR team. But, that shouldn’t discourage you from making the most of what a PR strategy can do to better your business.
To build consumer interest and shape your brand identity, you can try these simple and low- or zero-cost PR hacks.
1. Host an Event
Your followers, potential customers, and investors want to hear a compelling story. Holding an event gives you a platform to tell your brand story in front of customers and the media — the most critical element of your PR strategy.
If you’re an online fashion brand, you could create a pop-up event at a local restaurant or event space. Partnering with other brands and businesses will help you spread the word more efficiently and tap into a wider audience. Invite social media influencers in your area so they can help spread the word and share the event live via Instagram or TikTok.
The event doesn’t have to be large; it only needs to generate buzz and interest from those you’re looking to reach. The more interest and engagement you get, the better the chances your brand has to catch on in the market.
2. Become a Speaker (Webinar, Community Events, Podcast)
Identify community events, webinars, or podcasts that pull together your target audience and offer to be a speaker. These events give you a platform to demonstrate your expertise and leave your mark on your industry.
If your talks are informative and thought-provoking, they’ll elevate you as a thought leader. If the topic of discussion is an emerging trend in the industry, the chances are good that journalists and bloggers will want to quote you in their writing. This kind of exposure will be great for your personal brand as well as getting the word out about your company or product.
3. Write a Press Release
Press releases allow you to control what the public is saying about your brand. We live in an era where bad news spreads very fast. A customer complaint can go viral and earn your brand negative publicity that could hurt your revenue.
Thankfully, a press release helps you be first to bat with all news (good or bad) and control the messaging journalists, and editors get out there. The key is to create newsworthy but fact-based press releases that give your customers a reason to disregard other outlets.
In case of negative publicity, let the general public know precisely what happened and own up to mistakes in the press release. If it’s a new product or service, be concise about the value it provides and use the opportunity to position your brand as a subject expert.
4. Stay Trendy with Social Media
Having a social media presence gives your brand free PR outlets — you only have to show up and engage the public. However, to remain relevant and earn customer trust, you need to keep up with current trends while being consistent with your brand and its messaging.
One interesting fact is that social media and PR are inextricably linked. PR thrives on proper communication, and the real-time messaging of social media makes it stronger and more impactful. It amplifies messages published on press releases and other PR-related content, making it spread faster, live longer and reach more audiences.
One of the best ways to use social media as a PR strategy is to add social sharing buttons to news releases. Doing so makes it easy for media outlets to share the messaging, further spreading the word and helping you grow your business.
5. Create Branded Hashtags on Social Media
Hashtags offer an effective way to follow trending topics on social media and monitor the performance of your campaigns.
You could create branded hashtags for your PR campaigns. As the name suggests, a branded hashtag could take your brand’s name, the name of a product, or specific campaigns.
For example, let’s say you represent a hotel brand. If you want to help airlift a stranded tourist back home, you could create a branded hashtag #GetKyleHome and coordinate a campaign around these efforts. This kind of PR campaign offers a unique story that will pull people in and get the word out about your hotel that is what makes it so great.
Also, with a branded hashtag, every time a social media user adds the hashtag to their posts, it increases your brand’s reach since you’re tapping into their followers. You could then build a community around the hashtag and easily monitor the performance of your campaign.
6. Guest Post on Popular Media Outlet
Content marketing and PR go hand-in-hand. Consider creating buzz for your brand by offering to contribute content to popular media outlets and online publications. However, keep in mind that building professional relationships with journalists and editors at these outlets won’t happen overnight. It takes time, but the results justify the time you invest in the process.
A guest post allows you to share your knowledge and prove your expertise to a new audience. In most cases, you’ll get a backlink to your website or an opportunity to add an author’s bio to the guest post. Posting on well-known media outlets improves the odds of getting increased media exposure, and you’re able to tap into an engaged readership that fits your audience criteria.