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Running a small business is challenging all on its own, but to build a lasting brand you need publicity. Publicity creates public awareness. It brings your business, brand, products and services to the public eye through many channels, including news outlets.

When you run a business you’re responsible for a little bit of everything, which means that taking on publicity can feel pretty intense. Even if your small business has a marketing director, PR is a big undertaking, especially if it’s something you haven’t done before.

Publicity Tips for Small Business

1. Different types of PR you can use
2. PR budgeting for beginners
3. Public relations tools for small business budgets
4. Your public relations fact sheet
5. Make publicity work for your small business

This article will show you the most effective types of publicity you can use for your business. We’ll also cover PR budgeting, public relations tools. We’ll also review best practices for creating a public relations fact sheet and how to entice reporters to write about your business.

Let’s get started.

Different types of PR you can use

While the lines between marketing and PR blur more each year, when most people talk about publicity they are talking about media and news features. 

Public relations can also give a significant boost to your content marketing efforts. Branded search is more prominent every year for SEO. PR is the best way to develop strong brand recognition.

These are the most effective ways to get media coverage for your business:

  • Media relations
  • Press kits (including a good public relations fact sheet)
  • Press releases
  • Community engagement
  • Brochures
  • Newsletters
  • Events
  • Speaking engagements
  • Sponsorships 
  • Partnerships
  • Employee engagement
  • Speaking engagements
  • Social media
Girl painting a rainbow on a window at a community event for Selz ecommerce for business growth

Many time-strapped small businesses put together a press release and send it out. While that approach is time-effective, it rarely gets your business the kind of coverage you want. 

Publicity is really about building relationships. So, your efforts should start with supporting what you believe in. Identify who is talking about competitors or about sites similar to yours. Get involved in your community. 

You can follow them on Twitter or LinkedIn and leave relevant comments on their posts or re-tweet them. You’ll also want to make sure your employees are on-brand with their LinkedIn profiles. 

With this in mind, be genuine in your comments and get to know the causes and niches your media contacts support. 

Women compare social media profiles on LinkedIn for increase small business publicity

Read more: Social Media for Small Business: Nurturing Leads into Sales

This relationship-building will ensure that your business will not only get positive mentions in the press, but it will also reinforce the mission and values of your brand.  

There will be times that relationship-building for publicity feels uncomfortable. That’s normal, it’s scary and that’s what prevents many businesses from getting media attention.

PR budgeting for beginners

If you haven’t put a PR in your budget before, start today. If you’re adding public relations to your marketing plan for the first time, take a look at your product roadmap first. Then talk to your internal teams who will feel the positive impact of PR.  Talk to your CFO about PR budgets or marketing expenses for public relations in the past.

Read more: Small Business Accounting: How to Optimize Your Small Business Budget

You’ll need details to make your budget work, so get a sense of how many new products, upgrades, and strategy shifts to expect. Big product launches need multi-channel campaigns to have an impact. 

Weigh what your internal team can do with where you may need to hire extra help. You may need to budget for a freelancer or a PR firm if you don’t have someone on your team with the expertise you need. 

A team meets to discuss the PR budget to increase publicity for new product releases

If you need to prepare a proposal for PR budgeting approval, create a slide for each month of your fiscal year. On each slide add the events and product releases that would benefit from dedicated PR, along with your proposed budget. 

This will improve your chances of budget or board approval. It will also make it easier for you to make changes as releases and other anticipated events shift over time. 

Your proposal should also include deliverables like paid press releases, events and new technology. Many small businesses are investing in public relations tools.

Public relations tools for small business budgets

Public relations tools make things easier for small businesses

If your small business is looking for more effective PR but doesn’t have the budget to hire a professional, there are many public relations tools that can help.

Social listening tools to monitor brand and stakeholder mentions

Learn more about social listening tools and how to implement those tools in this article from Tapfiliate. They also have a great post on content moderation so you can optimize your social channels.

Help a Reporter Out

HARO is a service you can sign up to become a source for reporters. You can also try to help out journalists or writers with their stories. You receive regular emails with requests for comments or interviews on a variety of topics.

Spending a few minutes each day could lead to you getting the media exposure you’re after.

Selz ecommerce SEO is a great way to build awareness and publicity for your small business

Selz Ecommerce SEO

This service gives you access to a dedicated SEO manager who will analyze your site for on-page optimization. Depending on the tier of service you choose you can get help with content creation for link building, video creation and press releases. Book a free audit today!

BlogDash

This resource helps you connect with bloggers in your niche that want to engage with brands. This can save your team the time you may be spending now doing outreach and research that doesn’t get the results you want. 

HubSpot’s Public Relations Kit

This simple free template can help your business write what you need to quickly reach out and respond to press requests.

Industry Awards and Recognition

Get to know the foundations and organizations in your industry and niche. Many of these groups offer awards that can bring attention to your business and products.

Article Content Sites

Blog posts that include links to your website are a great way to get more visitors to your website and better brand recognition. Sites like Hubpages or eZineArticles make it easy to post your content.

Managed advertising

Paid ads can be a great boost for brand recognition, but it takes serious time and effort to get it right. This service offers experts to manage your pay-per-click advertising for you, with a dedicated account manager who will keep you updated on the launch and optimization of your ads.

An interview with a radio personality can make a big difference for your small business. Try pairing this with pay-per-click advertising!

Radio Guest List

This free service is like HARO, but their focus is radio and podcast interviews. If you want to be a talk show guest, guest author, or expert ready to interview live, sign up for this service

Your public relations fact sheet 

A quick search for public relations tips might pull up more sarcastic comments than useful information. People have strong feelings about PR and how to do it right.

That said, most agree on the basic tools you want in your press kit:

  • Backgrounder 
  • Press release
  • Fact sheet
  • Publicity photos or list of photo opportunities
  • Media alerts 

These details give reporters everything they need to write an interesting and well-informed article. The most overlooked and essential item in your press kit is your public relations fact sheet. Your fact sheet should be 1-2 pages, and it should include: 

  • Your business name
  • Business address
  • Primary phone number
  • Website address
  • A contact name
  • Title of your primary contact
  • Email address

The rest of your fact sheet consists of headers and header descriptions. Try to stick to a single page if you can. Your PR fact sheet is for communicating basic information about your business in a format that is quick and easy to consume. 

Header examples for your public relations fact sheet could include:

  • History
  • Products and Services
  • Mission
  • Board

Descriptions for each header should be brief. As you write it up, think about your elevator speech for your business. While your press release and backgrounder offer the details, your final document should be easy for reporters to scan.

Make publicity work for your small business

A woman multitasking is looking for the quickest and simplest way to get publicity for her small business

Publicity is one of the most effective ways to build an audience. If your team is making it happen for the first time, we have a few tips.

  • Do your research 
  • Personalize your emails and only send pitches to journalists who write about your industry or niche
  • Build a press kit that is lean, simple and impactful 
  • Offer social proof of your success 
  • Avoid buzzwords
  • Tell a story 

About the author

Jana Rumberger

Jana is a writer and Content Manager at Selz. She has expertise in ecommerce strategy, selling products online, and small business solutions. Jana combines diverse experience in education, design, and manufacturing to craft engaging content.

In addition to her writing, she is a visual artist and foodie in Portland, Oregon.