Why use traditional PR?

Why use traditional PR when you can use social media to promote your small business?

As people become more familiar with social media, they can use this ‘free’ form of marketing to generate awareness for their business.

‘Free’ is in inverted commas because it does have a cost – your time.

I have always said that PR gives people in small businesses with limited marketing budgets the best bang for their buck, but times have changed. Now you can tweet about your business, post pics of your product on Pinterest and/or Instagram, sell it on Facebook via a business page and talk to your customers directly using all the above social-media platforms.

So how does traditional PR fit into this new mix?

Ask any social-media expert if they believe in traditional PR and they will tell you what a difference it can make – and by traditional I mean appearing in magazines or newspapers, being interviewed on the radio or even appearing on TV; of course, it also includes digital media and bloggers, but you get the drift.

Get credibility

By getting an article in a newspaper or magazine, you also get credibility as someone else (the editor or journalist) is endorsing you. You will almost certainly then get the story in the online version, which will make Google think you are something special and increase your ranking. It gives you something meaty to tweet, blog, post on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and more. It also gives you something to put on your website that looks impressive. The list of benefits is enormous!

By getting an article in a newspaper or magazine, you also get credibility as someone else is endorsing you. The online version will then make Google think you are something special and it will increase your ranking.

The combination of traditional and social media covering a topic you have written about, or a story of your business, is very powerful. The two work so effectively together because the traditional media editorial coverage provides credibility and the social media provides instant broadcast channels for your now-credible message.

You can do your own PR coverage

But getting traditional PR coverage doesn’t have to cost a bomb. You can do it yourself. All you have to do is write a good media release (or get one written for you if you are a little shaky when it comes to spelling and grammar), get hold of the media contacts for the media you want to target, email it off and then, if you don’t hear back straight away, follow it up. I know I have made it sound ridiculously simple but really, it’s not hard!

There are loads of online resources to help you work out some media-friendly story angles and it’s not hard to get someone to write a media release for you for under $500 if you need to.

To put together a media list you can search online for editors and producers or make a few phone calls and ask the receptionist for the name of the journalist and their email address. Or you can buy one already made up.

Look, there is a bit of a knack to doing your own PR but it’s a great and cost-effective alternative to nothing – or paying loads to an agency or publicist. To then combine it with social media to broadcast the message makes it an effective way to gain awareness of your business or brand.

Jules Brooke, founder and owner, Handle Your Own PR

handleyourownpr.com.au

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