Case Study: PR for Small Businesses Does Close Sales, But YOU Have to Work It!
I write for Examiner.com as the Atlanta Small Business Examiner. For the month of February I selected a few wedding professionals based in Atlanta, GA to feature for National Weddings Month. One of the wedding professionals that I featured was Nicole Scott-Tate, owner and principal planner of Your Champagne Wishes Events, LLC (pictured below).
Nicole and I had a wonderful interview and her feature turned out great, (take a look). One of things I asked each wedding professional was to include a few tips that they give to the brides and grooms that they work with. The purpose of this was to really have the event professionals shine and stand out with their tips.
Two days ago I received this wonderful email from Nicole:
This email made me happy for a number a reasons:
- Nicole emailed me a “Thank You” email thanking me for what I do. Everybody likes to hear thank you from time-to-time. Just this fact alone will always keep Nicole in mind if I need quotes for a future article or other possible features (which will ultimately mean more press for Nicole).
- Nicole printed her article feature out and added it to her portfolio to show to her clients (I know this is small business basics 101 but you’d be surprised at the number of people that do not do this).
- Nicole had a consultation with a bride and groom and the groom repeated her tips (listed in the article) to his fiance.
- I featured this article on February 13th and I received this email on February 27th Nicole closed the deal!
So the lesson is: getting press for your small business does work, especially if you work it like Nicole did. And get this, you don’t have to be featured in the NY Times or other larger publications to get sales (but if you have the opportunity to get your small business featured in these publications go for it!). Here are a few pointers for getting your story covered (from a small business writer that reads pitches/ press releases all day):
- Figure out your unique angle Is there a problem or story being reported in the media that your service or product can solve. Position yourself as the expert and provide solutions and/or tips on how to navigate the issue. Also every month has special days or unique holidays. Pick the days that your business can align itself with and notify members of the press to let them know what you are planning (via press release). For example this year is a Leap Year and today is February 29 (Leap Day, I guess) is there a special thing that your small business is having on this day? If you can get really creative you can generate media interest. So something like the 29th customer gets to eat for free all year, or the first 29 couples get 50% off their purchase and free tickets to dinner and a movie might work. Get creative!
- Don’t just aim for the well-known publications, cater to some of the smaller publications too Of course everyone wants their story picked up by their local news stations and papers, but if that doesn’t happen immediately don’t give up altogether instead consider other news sources. Look for local online publications and other small papers around your town that might be interested in your story. Also consider getting your story out with local bloggers and bloggers that cater to your niche. If no one shows interest in your story, I hate to break it to you but you probably have no story, yet. Go back to the creative thinking board and see what you can come up with. If your story does get picked up great add it to your portfolio like Nicole did to show potential and current customers. Additionally keep in mind that the story may begin with a smaller audience, but there is chance (if it is interesting enough) that it may get picked up by a larger news source or one that caters to your audience. For example I did an article feature on award-winning SEO Company Vayu Media and it got picked up by CityBizList Atlanta a business publication that caters to a large Atlanta-based business audience. I also mentioned them in a post entitled 4 Surefire Ways to ‘WOW’ Your Customer and Increase Holiday Sales. Look at all that press!
- Say ‘Thank You’ When your small business gets press coverage be sure to thank those involved (i.e., writer, reporter, editor, producer, etc). That way you’ll be remembered (or at least highly increase your chances) and you’ll have a media contact to pitch future ideas to. If something great comes from the article do a follow-up email to share your good news (like Nicole did).
- Add the article to your portfolio Again, like Nicole did add all articles and news appearances to your marketing toolbox. If the feature is done via an online publication or blog print it out and use to gain new customers, also use it to remind current customers why they chose your product or service in the first place. Include links to articles or other media appearances online to your website.
Keep in mind that if you are clueless about writing press releases or just not very good, it is worth it to hire a public relations professional or writer that specializes in writing them. Whatever you do make it a part of your to do list to have a media/PR campaign for your small business that will ultimately garnish new sales and repeat customers. Remember, once you get the PR your small business so desires, it is up to you to work it! The article can bring you new customers but it is not going to do the selling, you or your company has to do that.
Read Create an Effective PR Campaign That Will Make Your Competitor Green with Envy for great tips and advice about getting positive PR for your small business.
Have you been successful in getting PR for your small business? Please share your small biz diamonds below or email them to email@example.com.
Have a successful day!