The best way to pr a startup or small business

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What’s the best way to PR a business?

This is a question that I see at least once a day posted in discussion fora including Quora, LinkedIn, Alignable. It’s a question that is hard to answer. The truth is there is no default “best” way to use public relations to grow a business. There’s no one strategy or tactic that, once implemented, will transform the fortunes of a business. That’s not how public relations works. Anybody that claims otherwise should be treated with caution.

Every business needs a public relations strategy

Public relations is the foundation of everything a business does. Building and maintaining key relationships underpins everything from customer acquisition and retention to finding the right employees and securing investment. Public relations is also the key to successful marketing. It’s not difficult, but there’s no default strategy in the same way that there’s no default best way to travel or default “best” fashion label, auto maker, etc. It’s all contextual.

Finding the best public relations strategy for your business

The key is to find the best public relations strategy for your business. How do you do that? The first step is to ask the right questions. The first question to ask is what is the commercial outcome you’re hoping for. This will define who the business needs to build (and maintain) strong mutually beneficial relationships with. Next, every business needs to ask why key people will want to build a relationship with the business. This requires you to put yourself in their place and understand their motivations and what they’re looking for from the relationship.

Timing is everything – and it is no different with public relations. Like building personal relationships you need the other person to want to build a relationship with you. Failing to understand the timing opportunities or barriers means you are relying entirely on luck.

Start a conversation

The final question every organization needs to ask is how they start and maintain conversations with the people that are critical to the achievement of key business goals. It’s not as simple as many think. Social media is the new poster child of corporate communication but it’s far more complicated than posting a tweet or sharing something on Facebook. The right way to start a conversation depends on things like the person you’re looking to talk with, what you’re saying and their preferred medium.

When you have answered these four questions you can create a hypothesis and test it. Running a series of experiments to test each of your answers you’ll be able to find the best pr strategy for achieving a specific commercial goal.

In summary, the best way to pr a startup or small business is the one that delivers the commercially-valuable outcome your business needs to grow.

For help finding out the best way to pr your startup or small business visit COMMS.BAR and talk with a small business communications specialist.