DIY PR tips for small business owners
Follow these simple PR tips for small business owners to promote your business more effectively online. No matter how large or small your budget, or even the size of your business, anyone can engage in these activities to easily spread awareness of their company’s brand, services, products or mission.
Top three PR tips for small business owners
1. Contributed articles
One of the easiest—and free!— things you can do to promote your small business online is writing contributed articles on topics related to your industry or customer base, then email pitching this content to major websites for publication. For example, say you’re a lawn and landscaping startup in Denver, Colo. First, research lawn and landscape industry websites and magazines online, and even general business publications in the Denver area.
Then, write 400 to 800-word articles on topics that might interest their readership, such as innovations in mower technology or how homeowners can protect their yards from winter freeze. For your local publications, put a local or regional spin on it: how are you helping the local community with your green mowers? Craft a few quality, “news-you-can-use” pieces and email them with a brief email pitch to the appropriate editors of each publication. (Only offer an exclusive article to one publication at a time, or you may have a few angry editors on your hands.)
Pro Tip: Careful not to be too self-promotional! Never mention your own business or website in the body of the article — save that for the short “bio” at the end of the piece. The article should be related to your company, not directly about it.
2. Guest blogging
Similar to pitching contributed articles, guest blogging is another easy and cost-effective way to boost your company’s visibility, and status as an industry expert or thought leader. Start by researching industry-related blogs and their contacts, and get a feel for the type of content they post. Do they feature guest bloggers? Do they post Q&As or feature stories? What kind of topics do they cover? What’s their tone? Then, brainstorm a list of topics based on your research and your expertise.
Finally, write several 300-word blog posts on a variety of topics related to your company and industry, then pitch them (exclusively!) to each blogger on your list. Your email pitch can be as simple as, “Hey, I really enjoy your blog, and I thought you might be interested in publishing this guest post I wrote with your readers in mind,” with your guest post pasted in the body of the email. Or, you may prefer to research and pitch bloggers with topic ideas first before investing your time writing the posts in the first place. But just remember: any posts you write that don’t get published can always be repurposed for your own blog.
Pro Tip: Really do your research when pitching bloggers to ensure your content is appropriate for type of blog they write and the subject matter they cover. Just like you don’t like getting spam email, they don’t appreciate it too much either — plus, they have a much bigger platform through which to complain about it!
3. Social media
Utilizing social media to promote your small business is another blog post for another time (or, rather, a series of them!). But social media is a vital method for researching and building relationships with bloggers via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or even in the comments section of their blogs. Start following the top bloggers who target your customer base or cover topics related to your small business. Connect with them on Twitter or like their posts on Facebook; compliment their posts and engage in conversations about the issues they raise. Then, your email pitch is much more likely to be opened, read and considered when it lands in their inbox. Remember: keep it short, sweet and original! Longer content does not equal better engagement on social media.
Pro Tip: The same advice we gave for writing contributed articles goes for social media. Don’t be overly promotional! You may be tempted to make every post about your small business, complete with a link to your website and as many hashtags as you can squeeze in. But take our advice and follow this rule: for every post you publish promoting your brand, post three non-promotional, educational or humorous items your followers will enjoy.