The Latest

Yes, You Need A Website For Your Small Business

igor-miske-207639

I was doing some research recently when I came across an article that said nearly half of small businesses don’t have a website. You read that right, nearly HALF. 45 percent is the number quoted in the article, which by the way was titled, “You’ll be shocked to learn how many small businesses still don’t have a website.” And yes, I was shocked.

I’ve seen research like this before, and on one hand, it isn’t hard to believe. Small business owners are strapped for time and funds–I get it. They’re overwhelmed by the demands placed on them, including not only sales but marketing, operations, business development, HR and the list goes on.

On the other hand, how can a small business NOT have a site? It is simply a must for any business today. Even if you’re not selling anything online, a site is the hub of all digital marketing activity—social media, content marketing, PR, advertising and SEO. Where is the first place many will go when they look for a product or service? Online. If you’re not there, they may not bother to seek you out–and go elsewhere.

Continue reading Yes, You Need A Website For Your Small Business

Turns Out Knowing How to Apologize Matters in a PR Crisis

typewriter-1138667_1920

Well, this week offered no shortage of things for communicators to talk about. Crisis after crisis struck, as United, Pepsi—and even the White House—made major missteps that created PR headaches for each.

On the upside, crises like these make it easier for PR pros to explain just what it is we do!

But, on a more serious note, as we examine these incidents, what can be learned? In the wake of making a mistake, what’s the best way to handle the situation before it blows up into a bigger disaster? Continue reading Turns Out Knowing How to Apologize Matters in a PR Crisis

Forget the resolutions: 5 ways to get started on PR in 2017

happy-new-year-1915406_1920

2017 is here. As the New Year begins, resolutions are being made. That includes resolutions for your small business.

But, what if you don’t believe in making resolutions? And even if you do, for some of us, they simply don’t work.

That’s OK. How about we just focus on getting it done this year? If you’ve been thinking about doing some public relations for your small business or startup, there are some simple ways to get the ball rolling.

Here are five ways you can make it happen for your small business when it comes to PR:

Continue reading Forget the resolutions: 5 ways to get started on PR in 2017

Think Spring: Five Ways to Spruce Up Your PR and Marketing Efforts

Ah, spring is here at last! Spring is the time of year when our thoughts turn to freshening up our homes, cleaning out our closets, and by the way, have you checked out that cluttered garage lately?! All kidding aside, while spring cleaning your home may be on the top of your list, how much thought have you given to your business and to freshening up your marketing, and specifically PR, initiatives?

In the spirit of spring cleaning, here are five things you can do to spruce up your marketing and PR:

1) If you haven’t made the commitment to social media, do it now. Social media isn’t going anywhere…and it’s a free tool just waiting to be taken advantage of. If you haven’t dipped your toe in the water yet, come on in! Start small, so as not to get overwhelmed. Pick one or two platforms you can commit to consistently updating. LinkedIn is a great place to start. I also like Twitter and Google+. Of course, there’s Facebook, Pinterest and many others, depending on the audience you’re trying to reach.

2) Consider a press release. Press releases are a multi-purpose tool in the marketing mix. They’re like the Swiss Army knife in your marketing arsenal! They help you get the word out to the masses and also help your SEO (search engine optimization). They can be posted to your site and to social media. You can pitch the release directly to reporters who may be interested in covering the news. Your sales team could use the press release in their efforts.

3) Content marketing is hot in 2014. Have you embraced it yet? To develop your own content, look internally for ideas. Are there customer case studies or success stories you could create? Is there a trend in your industry that might make a good white paper? Maybe look into creating an infographic you could publish. Once you have the content, make sure to add it to your site and post it to all your social media outlets. If you mention a customer or partner, perhaps you can ask them to blast it out on their social media platforms, as well. PR plays right into content marketing, as it can be used to create much of the “content.”

4) Have you booked a speaking engagement? Speaking is one of the best ways to increase visibility and be seen as the “expert.” Many organizations need speakers for their meetings and conferences. While these are generally unpaid speaking gigs, the benefits you’ll reap in the form of visibility can really boost your business and help your product or service get on the map. You can publicize the speaking engagement before, during and after the fact to get the most visibility from it. Again, using this as content on your social media platforms is a great idea. And those at the event may try to book you for another event or even purchase products or services from you.

5)Have you considered an award submission? Many industries and publications have awards programs you can enter, some at no cost. What does this get you? If you win, you can publicize it with a press release and once again, blast it out via all your social media platforms. You can also post the win on your site (some awards come with an icon you can use). Awards create credibility that lasts forever. Think of the Oscars—Tom Hanks will forever be known as “Academy-Award Winner Tom Hanks.”

Try leveraging the power of some “fresh” PR and marketing initiatives this spring by putting some of these ideas into action.  

Image

Resolve to Pay More Attention to PR in 2014

As you make your new year’s resolutions for your business, don’t forget to take PR into consideration.

As someone who lives and breathes PR, I understand the value and power of what public relations delivers. However, many small businesses do not. So, what can PR do for your business?

It puts you on the map: Whether you have a new business or a business that’s been around 20 years, PR brings visibility to your company. A simple press release can bring immediate SEO benefits, in addition to the chance that a potential customer will see the release and want to buy from you—or that a reporter will see it and want to write about you. This can be accomplished in a few hours of your time—or if you hire someone to write it for you, it can be a very cost-effective method of promoting your business.

It adds credibility: Think about the last time you were making a buying decision. If you saw the vendor mentioned in the paper or on the news, wouldn’t that sway your decision in their favor? PR is powerful in that it adds immediate credibility to your business. If you’re featured in an article or story, potential customers will think of you in a different light.

It can be leveraged in multiple ways: Once a story or article appears, an award is won or a speaking opportunity is secured, it can be used in a number of ways: on your site, in your sales efforts and in your social media efforts, to name a few. PR is a great marketing tool because it has a long life and can be repurposed in so many ways, making it ideal for content marketing (all the rage right now!).

It gets the word out: If you have a new product, service or offering, how do you let the public know? Do you spend thousands of dollars on advertising? Or do you issue a press release that can make it into multiple channels for a fraction of the cost? Even if you advertise, a press release can be shared with industry publications, as well as issued on a wire service (some are free) and shared with current and potential customers to get the news out.

Those are just a few ways PR can help your business. This can all translate into increased traffic and potentially, into sales. So what are you waiting for? Resolve to make PR part of your marketing plan for 2014.