PR can be a tremendously useful tool that can make or break a company's success. And for big corporations, that’s no problem - they have the funds to dedicate to a full-time PR team.
But the majority of businesses are SMEs: Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. SMEs are businesses that fall within a certain size range, typically based on factors such as the number of employees, annual revenue, or total assets. Think small business - your neighborhood florist, a family-owned restaurant, your local downtown gift shop.
SMEs have fewer employees and often limited financial resources - and typically operate on a more localized or niche scale. SMEs can be found across various industries and sectors, ranging from retail and services to manufacturing and technology.
Despite their size, SMEs play a huge role in the economy. In the United States, small businesses make up a substantial majority of all businesses. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, as of 2020, there were nearly 31.7 million small businesses, which accounted for 99.9% of all U.S. businesses. This includes both small and micro-enterprises.
SMEs drive innovation, create jobs, and contribute to economic growth. They’re often considered the backbone of many economies. But their petite size can hurt when it comes to marketing, advertising, PR campaigns, and competition with the big boys. They almost never have the staff or funds to employ a full-time PR team.
Still, there are definitely solutions for small businesses looking to launch an effective marketing campaign - and here are a few tools to store in your marketing toolbox if you’re a small business owner.
First things first, let's talk about understanding your PR goals. Let’s say you have the next exciting new startup - but you’re brand-new and easily fall under SME guidelines. Plus you don’t have the budget for a PR team (or even a PR director).
Remember how important SMEs are to the global economy. You’re a superhero - and you need to decide on your mission. What do you want to achieve through your PR efforts? Do you want to be known far and wide, get media coverage that makes heads turn, boost your reputation, or engage with your audience like a pro? (Or all of these?)
Once you have a crystal-clear vision of your PR goals, you can unleash your superpowers in the right direction.
Now, let's assemble your team of heroic PR sidekicks. After all, where would Batman be without Robin?
Look around your organization and identify the individuals who possess the skills and passion for PR. Maybe you've got a team member who's a natural at charming the media, another who can weave words like a wizard, or someone who knows how to work social media like a boss. Assign specific PR responsibilities to each team member based on their strengths, whether it's media outreach, content creation, social media management, event coordination, or relationship building.
Put your aces in their places. Harness the unique talents of each individual to create a multifaceted dream team that can tackle any challenge. Just keep in mind that these aren’t full-time, dedicated PR peeps. They have “day jobs” - so ensure they have time for their normal responsibilities. (And listen to them if they’re feeling overwhelmed.)
Gather your team of heroes for regular meetings and unleash the power of collaboration and communication. Share your PR strategies, discuss upcoming opportunities, and keep everyone in the loop. This way, you'll ensure that every brave super-sidekick is equipped with the right information and resources to carry out their tasks effectively. And don't forget to provide feedback and celebrate victories along the way to foster a sense of unity and purpose.
So you have your brilliant sidekicks, a fantastic team with a unique set of abilities. But you might also already employ someone to serve as your mentor, your guru - the Splinter to your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Try to identify at least one team member within your organization who has PR-related experience or knowledge. Maybe you have a marketing whiz, a communications guru, or someone who knows the ins and outs of the media world. This is probably an experienced individual who is performing key tasks within your company - and maybe you can’t spare them for time-consuming PR work.
But they can guide your part-time PR power rangers. You can tap into their expertise to help your team develop compelling messaging, create engaging content, and establish connections with the media and influencers. Everyone benefits from the knowledge of someone more experienced; even if it’s just finding a ninja master to send your PR peeps one email of encouragement per week, that can go a long way.
Now it's time to unleash your secret weapons: your existing skills and resources. Whether you realize it or not, you already have an arsenal of tools and platforms at your disposal. We’re talking about social media management tools, email marketing software, and media databases. These will help you streamline your PR activities and save time like a true superhero.
But wait, there's more! You don't need superpowers to unleash PR tactics that can make a real impact. Craft press releases that make headlines and send them to relevant media outlets. Build relationships with journalists and industry influencers who have the power to spread the word about your awesomeness. Engage with your target audience through social media platforms, creating valuable content that educates, entertains, and inspires.
So now you have your mentor, your team, and your weaponry. Time to go out there and fight the bad guys. Get out into the world - show up at industry events and network like a pro, seeking partnerships and collaborations that can take your brand to new heights.
These events provide valuable opportunities to connect with like-minded professionals, potential customers, and industry influencers. This helps you gain insights into the latest trends, showcase your expertise, and establish your brand as a reputable player in the market. Engaging in meaningful conversations and exchanging ideas with industry peers can lead to valuable partnerships and collaborations.
Seek out strategic alliances to tap into new markets, access additional resources, and leverage the strengths of complementary brands to propel your business forward. Building strong partnerships and collaborations can provide a competitive edge, broaden your reach, and open doors to new opportunities for growth and success. So, make it a priority to attend industry events, network with intention, and be open to exploring partnerships that can take your brand to new heights.
Ready to celebrate? Reward your team for their effort - but don’t forget to clean up after the gala. That means paying attention to how effective your PR campaigns are. Measuring PR ROI for SMEs can be a mix of quantitative and qualitative data. It's not just about the numbers but also about the overall impact on your brand's visibility, reputation, and business growth.
One way to measure PR ROI is by monitoring your website analytics. Keep an eye on metrics like the number of website visitors, time spent on your site, and conversion rates. By comparing these metrics before and after your PR campaigns, you can assess the impact of your efforts on driving traffic and engagement.
Social media platforms are a treasure trove of data for measuring PR ROI. Keep an eye on metrics such as likes, shares, comments, and follower growth. These indicators can give you insights into the reach and engagement generated by your PR activities. Also, keep a tally of the media mentions and coverage your business receives. This can include online articles, interviews, and press releases. Look for qualitative indicators like the tone and sentiment of the coverage to gauge the impact on your brand's reputation.
Don't be afraid to ask for feedback from your customers or clients. Conduct surveys or gather testimonials to understand how your PR efforts have influenced their perception of your brand. Their responses can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your PR campaigns.
The success of your PR efforts can be measured by the impact on your sales and revenue. Keep an eye on these numbers and track any spikes or changes following your PR activities. This can be a direct indicator of the ROI generated by your PR efforts.
And lastly, assess the cost of your PR activities. Calculate the expenses incurred, including agency fees, event costs, and content creation expenses. Compare this with the results and outcomes achieved to determine the cost-effectiveness of your PR campaigns.
Dividing PR duties among your team members when you don't have an actual PR team is like assembling your own Justice League. By understanding your PR goals, assigning responsibilities, fostering collaboration, leveraging existing skills and resources, and embracing PR tactics within your reach, you can become a PR superhero and elevate your brand's reputation. Remember, consistency and authenticity in your communications will help you establish trust and credibility with your target audience. So go forth, unleash your PR powers, and save the day, one PR move at a time! You've got this!
Imperium Group is an American public relations and marketing consultancy firm. Founded in 2016, it specializes in guaranteed placements, creating utmost transparency for its clients. Imperium Group generates over 15M impressions a month for its clients. Its team is based out of New York, Dallas, and Los Angeles.
For more information about Imperium Group, please see https://navigator.imperiumgrouppr.com/.