How to Promote Your Company Like a PR Pro, Even if You Aren’t One
Many people think of Public Relations strictly as an internal department like HR and marketing, or as an outside agency. But the same techniques that make Public Relations so important for large companies can be used by anyone from entrepreneurs trying to create a brand, to marketing departments and agencies. For this post, I’ve compiled a list of techniques deployed by many PR pros that are also useful in other departments and organizations.
Objectives in PR are defined as the results you want to accomplish. They are written, measurable and time-bound. In this case, let’s examine Bear Butt Hammocks, a local small business geared towards college students and outdoor enthusiasts. Their top objective, obviously, is to have their audiences buy their gear. In order to accomplish this first goal, they lean on their secondary objective of building a loyal target audience. They accomplish this by creating compelling content and then having their Facebook and Instagram audiences share their online content and their product through social media. They use social media to spread their brand and generate interest in their product.
By first identifying objectives, your strategy for communicating your message will become clearer. Bear Butt realized that they needed to gear their messages to an audience who would be most likely interested in buying their products.
Recognize Key Publics
Who are you trying to reach? You have to know who you are before you try to reach other people. This is where PR pros really shine and other departments should take note. PR is usually very adept at asking the right questions to help clients and organizations form an identity. From this identity, they are able to better understand who they are trying to reach. Take Erica Kopp of @stay__co, who has branded herself as a “raw and minimal” stylist. Since the beginning of her account, she has focused on clean lines and bright whites. Through consistent messaging, theme, and branding, she can then reach her key publics with a better chance at creating a relationship.
Key publics are the audiences you want to reach. In Erica Kopp’s case, her business is “styling, branding, fashion, and wedding planning.” Identifying other businesses and brides as her key audiences, she can create content that these groups will appreciate and relate to. By doing so, she is able to focus her business strategy.
Create Targeted Messages
Now that you know who you are, and who you are trying to reach, you can create specific messages geared towards your publics. Take White Space Studios, for example. They rent their studio to photographers to use on an hourly basis. Their objective is to have their studio rented out every day and every hour that the studio is open. Their key publics are local Utah photographers. Their messaging focuses on showcasing all the reasons why their venue is desirable. For example, the natural light and the multiple ways that photographers have found to photograph models in the studio are key components that a Public Relations agency would want to address.
By keeping their messages simple and clean, they are able to show the benefits of their simple and clean studio. This will attract clients to their website, and hopefully increase rentals.
In Public Relations, tactics are the tools you use to deliver your messaging. This includes determining the right medium, such as social media posts, posters, and advertisements that will reach the right audience. In a campaign to raise awareness about their product, the Photage App, an app for printing photos, decided to use influencers as a means to spread their message. By having influencers post about their product, they spread the word about their product through other channels to reach new audiences. Using influencers is an example of an extremely effective tactic that many PR pros leverage.
Another important tactic that many small businesses and even some large ones forget to use is hyping a new product, service, or important hire. This is often the duty of an internal Public Relations department or a hired agency. Don’t overlook the importance of creating content and messaging to let your audience know of these important changes. You can also contact local newspapers for a more formal press release.
Using PR for Your Business
This all sounds great but how can you use it to elevate your business? First, identify and develop your company’s unique brand. This should be pretty obvious based on your objectives, products or services. Just like Bear Butt, who markets to outdoor enthusiasts and college students, brand yourself for your most obvious consumer. Then, create targeted messages to appeal to these publics. These will be the messages you share on your ad campaigns and social media accounts. Are you fun? Business minded? Do you have special skills that set you apart from your competitors? These are the messages you should focus on to sell your product.
Tactics are the ways you spread awareness about your abilities. Obviously, ads and social media posts are great, but you can have even more. Having influencers share your product is an effective tactic. You can also share informational pamphlets and swag to promote your business by creating awareness.
Public Relations can be a career or a means to market your business. By using common PR practices, you can create a strong brand that works to your advantage in your marketing strategies. By focusing on your objectives in relation to your key publics, you can create tactics that will spread your messages through specific tactics.