Small business PR on a shoestring budget
Driving brand awareness can be challenging for small businesses and start-ups with tight budgets. But with hard work and a little creativity, generating your own PR doesn’t have to be costly.
As PR expert Ros Morgan explains:
“You don’t have to have a PR machine in place when you launch your business. You can begin the PR in-house yourself, treating this phase as a ‘soft launch’. Once you feel more established and settled, and have a few customers or clients in place, then you can launch your PR campaign”.
With more than 12 years of experience working at some of London’s top PR firms, Ros generously shares her expertise with us on how to get started with your small business PR:
Implementing your own PR plan can be cost-effective
If you decide that you need some professional help with your PR, look into finding a PR consultant who can offer you advice and build a PR plan for you, which you can then implement yourself. This means that you pay per hour rather than being locked into a monthly retainer and really helps to keep the costs down.
Once your business is more established, you may want to consider hiring a company to run your PR campaign. But in the initial start-up phase, implementing your own PR is far more cost effective.
PR on a budget
There are lots of ways for small businesses to build brand awareness through low-cost PR. From seeking out product placement opportunities and offering your products to review panels or as competition prizes, to leveraging key social media channels or approaching influential bloggers and journalists – you just need to invest time and be imaginative!
Research the publications you approach
Be sure to thoroughly research the publications that would be likely to place your items on their pages (whether that be online or offline publications). For example, there is no point in targeting a weekly magazine that delivers affordable fashion and high street shopping advice if your price point is high end luxury (though that said, a celebrity wearing your brand may still achieve a reference).
Stand-out press releases
Keep your press release succinct – your first press release should not exceed one page. The perfect press release needs an attention-grabbing title that hooks the reader, followed by the all-important first paragraph (a more detailed repetition of the title). The release should follow a logical flow, covering the who, what, where, when and why of the story. And be sure to include a high-quality image and an engaging quote from the business founder(s).
If you’re sending your first press release off yourself, spend time researching the key person in each target publication to send it to. Most magazines have a list of the journalists within the first few pages.
Some final tips for PR success
To gain PR coverage, your story needs to be newsworthy. Though you might be hugely passionate about your business, not everything that you do will be of interest to the outside world (sorry, but it is true!). But maximise your chances of PR success with these final tips –
- Before commencing your PR activities, ensure your website is well-polished and ready to go.
- If you are a product-based business, have samples ready and available to send out to journalists and influential bloggers.
- Ensure that you have high-quality images ready to send to a publication on request.
- If you plan to target celebrities or bloggers and journalists, you will need to budget for gifting.
- Be careful not to bombard and alienate journalists with too many press releases.
Ros Fraser founded Morgan Fraser Public Relations following a 12 year career running successful PR campaigns in some of London leading PR firms. Throughout her career, Ros has built thoughtful, creative and unique PR campaigns for actors, musicians, presenters, authors, theatre companies, artists and fashion houses. Ros prides herself on forging strong, loyal relationships with her clients and media contacts and is highly passionate about what she does. She has two young boys and lives in North London with her husband.
Follow Ros: @MorganFraserpr