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Getting started with marketing and PR for small businesses

Marketing or promoting your small business need not be complicated. It is simply a matter of making your target audience aware of your products or services and letting them know what makes your company and its offering unique.

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There are many ways of achieving this and what works best for your organisation will be discovered – to some extent - by trial and error.

So how do you promote your small business for free in the media?

Marketing or promoting your small business need not be complicated. One of the most effective ways to communicate with customers and potential customers is through the media: magazines, newspapers, TV and radio.

Public Relations or PR or, put more simply, press relations is just one way of promoting your business but it is one of the most powerful. Did you know 80% of people still regularly read their local newspaper?

Despite the continued growth of the internet and social media, people still read hard copy magazines and newspapers, listen to the radio and watch the TV. Many companies use the media to promote products and services through advertising. However, this can be expensive.

PR is about achieving free, editorial press coverage in the publications your organisation’s identified target audiences read. Apart from the cost advantage PR has over advertising, some industry statistics have shown that articles are much more likely to be read and believed than advertisements.

The benefits of PR can be sumarised here:

  • A cost-effective and efficient way to help raise the profile of your company
  • Delivers specific key messages to your target audience
  • Creates interest in a product or service
  • Positions your company as an expert in a particular topic
  • Delivers news

So what next?

Once you understand how to achieve free editorial press coverage PR is not difficult, it is merely time consuming. Large organisations can afford to outsource PR to specialist agencies. However, if your company is small or you are just starting out in business doing your own PR can be a great option. At the most basic level issuing a press release about your company’s news is a good way to start. There are plenty of free articles available covering how to write a press release, like this one from the Forum.

Guest blog by Mel Betts, director Grapevine PR and Author of the DIY PR Toolkit.

Last updated 24th June 2016

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