By December 3, 2013 Read More →

PR for the home business owner

How every home business owner can take charge of their own PR

PR for the home business owner - Lyndon Johnson, THINK | DIFFERENT [LY]If you believe what most PR agencies tell you public relations is a dark art. And an expensive one at that.

Lyndon Johnson, founder of THINK | DIFFERENT [LY], is trying to change all that.

In today’s guest post he gives his top tips that every home business owner can use to ensure they deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time, via the right delivery channel.

1. Get to know your audiences. One of the biggest problems with most PR programs is that the home business owner treats all of its audiences as one and, as a result, fails to connect with any of them.
Spending time to get under the skins of the people that can help you grow your business will help you find ways to start conversations with them both on and offline, build stronger relationships with the media and increase your conversion rates. It also helps you to understand which of them you need to help deliver your next milestone.

2. Understand the value. Most elevator pitches, press releases and marketing collateral focus on the relative merits of the product or service from the home business owner’s perspective. Key to the success of any PR program is understanding what adds value to your customers and prospects.
Once you understand this you can start to develop value propositions and messaging that sells your product or service on the things that your customers buy on.

3. Sweat the message. If the message is wrong your audience won’t take the desired action when they receive it. Keep the message to a maximum of 140 characters [shorter if possible] to ensure it’s easy to deliver, memorable and repeatable – whatever the delivery mechanism.

4. Pick the right delivery mechanism. PR is synonymous with media, but nothing could be further from the truth. Public Relations is everything you do as a home business owner to build mutually beneficial relationships with your audiences.
Marketing is everything you do to leverage those relationships to grow your business – media is just one way to reach them and, in an increasingly noisy media world, it’s becoming less effective.
Pick the channels that your audiences use to communicate and focus on those, rather than trying to cover them all in the fear you’ll miss opportunities by not using them all.

5. Timing is everything. One of the mistakes that the majority of entrepreneurs make is getting the timing wrong. They announce a new product or service when they’re ready, rather than when their audiences are listening or in a position to purchase.
As a home business owner timing is critical to ensuring that you take advantage of every opportunity to sell. Take some time to find out when is the best time for you to talk with your audiences, rather than picking the best time for you to talk.

6. Run test campaigns. Want to know the best way to tell whether a campaign will be a success or a failure? Testing a campaign will help you know before you run it rather than afterwards. If the message, the audience, the timing or the delivery mechanism isn’t right you can make changes to increase the chances of success from PR activity.

7. Set commercial objectives, not ones based on coverage or awareness. 10 visitors who buy something is better than 10,000 that don’t, so build a PR plan to deliver a business milestone rather than measuring the success of a press release or piece of marketing coverage by the number of clicks or visitors to your site. It’ll help you avoid wasting time and money, and enable you to measure success much more accurately.

8. Invest time in doing your own media relations. Journalists don’t bite – well, most of them don’t. Building relationships with a handful of key media takes time and doesn’t, generally, deliver immediate results.
The best media relationships are the ones where you become a valuable resource to the journalist, rather than simply ones you or a paid PR person picks up every time you have a press release you want them to cover.

9. Find ways to use multimedia. An average journalist will receive between 300 and 500 press releases every day. They’ll receive tens of good quality picture stories [note: an infographic or product shot is not a good quality picture story]; they’ll receive even less good MP3 audio and MP4 video files, so take the opportunity to stand out. Intelligent use of multimedia can help you stand out with journalists as well as your other non-media audiences.

10. Let your customers tell your story. Most press releases contain a customer quote, but most are written by a PR agency or marketing person. Ask your customers to provide their own testimonials: text is good but audio or video are even better. Having customers that are happy to take calls from journalists without it being a pre-arranged briefing will set your home business apart from the crowd.

Lyndon founded THINK | DIFFERENT [LY] after 15 years as a communications professional. He works exclusively with small businesses and startups to help them grow their business using PR. His aim is to change the PR industry one entrepreneur at a time.

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