As a small business owner, especially a sole proprietor, or a non-profit with less than a dozen employees you don’t have time to do all the media relations and publicity for your business or organization. When your business grows enough to need ongoing media relations, seriously consider hiring pros to expand your online presence or either hire or train staff to be the communications specialist. Relating to your public has to be done regularly.
In the meantime, you need to determine how much time you have to dedicate to media and figure which media best serves you. Your audience may be traditional media consumers so you can focus on local news sources. However, we need to recognize more and more people look for a business via the internet. Whether they Google or Bing, clients looking for your services need to find you. A website is certainly a must and it can’t be what we call brochureware. The website needs to have information about your company, the products and services, lots of visual interest, certainly contact information and new content on a regular basis (either news about the company or featured products/services). Ideally it’s designed to capture the contact information of the people who are interested in your product so you can follow up.
To make it easier for them to find you, focus on Search Engine Optimization. What that means is use enough of the right words that clients might use to find your business so when they ask “stainless steel specialists” or “organic facial products in town” your business is more likely to pop up. The more you participate in social media, such as blogs or Facebook, the more your name or your company’s will surface in the search. The media may or may not respond to your publicity pitches, but your own website will always cover the material. If you blog you can demonstrate your expertise; if you don’t have time to blog, creating quick “tips” in your expertise can be the news content for your website.
It’s a lot to figure out. My PR Coach can help you decipher what’s going to work best for you, your skills and whether or not you should outsource this task.