TipsYou start your business with a passion and strong belief that you will make a difference. As Steve Jobs puts it, “we’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?” You have inspirations and stories that you’d like to share with the world. Public relations could be one of the most cost effective ways to get your message and story out. Here are 10 practical public relations tips for small businesses.

Identify and Get to Know Your Key Audience 
A solid foundation for all marketing and communications efforts relies in knowing the target audience. Who are your constituents, who make or break your business, and what are their key identifying factors?

Connect with Your Key Audience through Media 
After you have determined “who” your constituents are, it will be easy to determine “where” you can communicate with your target audience. Identify the key publications and media channels your targets look to for news and information.

Develop Key Messaging Points 
Now that you know who you’re talking to and where your messages will be carried, it is helpful to develop several key messaging points. These points should outline what you would like your target audience to know about your company, mission, goals, products and/or services.

Create a Story around Your Message Points 
The best public relations efforts involve story telling. Incorporate your key messages into compelling narratives about your company. What inspires you?

Develop a 12 Month Media Calendar and Capitalize on Key Opportunities to Tie-in Your Message 
Look at upcoming special events, holidays and the editorial calendars of your media outlets to identify key opportunities to tie-in and promote your message.

Follow Current Events and Capitalize on These Opportunities as Well 
Stay abreast of ongoing news and current events in your industry, and be prepared to capitalize on any similar happenings that provide a good opportunity to tie-in and tell your company’s story.

Use Participation in Philanthropic and Charity Events to Spread Your Message 
Partner with charity and philanthropic organizations and use their events and fundraising activities as an opportunity to share your message.

Develop a Media List and Establish Relationships with Key Members 
Review your media lists to determine which publications, editors, writers and bloggers are best suited to helping you tell your story. Develop relationships with them when possible, get to know them by following and reading their articles, reach out via email to find out how they like to receive their information and thank them for coverage when you get it.

Use Social Media Channels to Spread Your Message 
Use your relevant social media channels, like LinkedIn and Twitter, to distribute your press releases and promote your media coverage.

Be Relevant, Informative and Useful 
The most important goal of public relations is to promote positive relationships with your target audiences. In order to do so you must ensure that your public relations materials and efforts provide information that is relevant to your audiences’ interests and informative and otherwise useful for their needs.

What are your tips?