Public relations is key to getting news out about your small business or startup, but not every company has room in their budget to hire a professional PR agency when they first open their doors for business.

PR is a great way to increase your brand profile, boost SEO, drive traffic to your website and share positive company news. But if you don’t have a background in public relations and have never written a press release, what do you do?

Need a PR Strategy? Here are @RedBanyan's 7 tips for PR on a budget! Click To Tweet

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defines public relations as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” The PRSA further explains that public relations is about “influencing, engaging and building a relationship with key stakeholders across numerous platforms to shape and frame the public perception of an organization.” There are tactics to achieve this on a budget.

Here are 7 budget-friendly tips to begin your public relations strategy:

  1. Define your target audience. Do you know who you are trying to reach with your brand? It is important to understand your audience to make sure you are pursuing the right potential consumers. If you are selling pet supplies, common sense would tell you to target pet owners. If you are marketing toddler clothes, your target audience would be parents. Flesch out your target audience’s demographics, pain points, where they view content, and other helpful information to guide where you position your brand.
  2. Determine options for sharing your message. Based on the target audience, you need to plan out where to share your message. It may be a combination of social media, press releases, phone calls, and emails. Plan out how you will leverage each branch of communication and share your story.
  3. Find your tools. If you share your message on social media, dashboard programs like Buffer or Hootsuite make sharing content on multiple platforms quick and easy and allow you to schedule social media posts in advance. For email marketing, tools like HubSpot or Mailchimp are great options for scheduling out batch email sends. 
  4. Grow your network. Communications and marketing are all about networking. Expand your network through business contacts, social media contacts and organizations you want to partner with.
  5. Create an editorial calendar. Fill out monthly calendars with brand-related posts, commentary on related news, events and shared posts. Regularly posting on your social media channels and blog will help increase engagement and brand recognition. 
  6. Create a “brand story” that will show people why they should care. Tell your brand’s story in a way that will engage and stir interest. Your following will increase if your story is intriguing.
  7. Understand the media. Pitching ideas to media outlets that have nothing to do with your niche means the pitches will fall on deaf ears. Find outlets that cater to your target audience and focus on capturing their interest. Take a quick course in media relations to up your business savvy.

Handling public relations internally takes thought and preparation but can be done well if you have the bandwidth. Businesses that are just starting out will get an edge on their competition, save money and grow their brand recognition if they devote time and effort to developing their brand’s story and then promoting it to through the route avenues. Don’t have the bandwidth? Reach out to Red Banyan to see how we can help.