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Generate your own PR for your small business


PR agencies have made some grand strides in recent years: making more lucrative connections and getting more visibility for their business clients than ever. That’s terrific news… if it fits into your budget. If you’re running a start-up or small business, you might not have the capital available for hiring a public relations agent.

Does that mean your business doesn’t get to enjoy the luxury of media exposure? Or that you won’t have the opportunity to gain the attention of journalists, bloggers and other influencers? Not at all.

You can do it; you’ll just need some advice for making your PR efforts as effective and efficient as possible, knowing that success is established early on, in the research and positioning stages.

The following tips will help lay the foundation for expert-level PR on a start-up or SME budget:

Determine your market position

This is Business 101, really, but it applies to PR, too. You can’t expect to compete (or for journalists to see anything unique about your story) if you’re just like the other companies in your sector. 

Ask your ideal clients about gaps in existing services. Look for ways in which the competition can improve. Look to current technological advancements and consumer trends to determine where the market is going and land your brand in its path. These are just some of the ways you can carve out a unique niche for your growing business, and get media leaders to notice.

Identify your target audience

Who is your message and story meant for? Who needs your brand the most? What are their age, income, habits, interests, favourite social media hang-outs and influencers? Unless you get solid answers to these questions, you will have no idea to whom you’re speaking, and without knowing that, you can’t know what to say or how to say it. 

Identify your target media

What publications are catering to your target audience? Business experts tell us that we must go to the places where our ideal clients are gathering, to put our brands in front of them. Otherwise, we’ll never gain the visibility necessary for growth. Remember this as you look for ideal media outlets. Choose journalists who share your target audience, because what your ideal clients need to experience is what their ideal clients need to hear.

Carefully select your key message and story ideas

Use what you’ve learnt in the previous three points to build a message that will grasp the attention of your target audience: a message that will run through all your communications. 

This message should demonstrate your brand’s core values and let your audience know ‘what’s in it for them’. And then always be searching for stories about your brand that will demonstrate the benefits your audience can expect to experience.

Alison Shadrack is founder of Adia PR