If you are an entrepreneur or a start-up founder, you must have already read 100s of expert articles on why you must have a stronger online presence and aim for more visibility.
Do you wonder if this is good for you, especially in the early stages of business?
My answer is – yes, definitely. A stronger online presence and higher visibility is one of the best tools available for any business.
Here are five ways a start-up brand can benefit from a strong online visibility:
• Establish your brand early on by creating a distinct identity.
• Build your authority / expert in your business sector.
• Showcase the unique service, the ‘value’ your brand brings and be seen as a trusted brand.
• Build an online network of followers, who are more likely to convert in customers and referrals.
• Get noticed by your stakeholders, media, potential investors and collaborators.
What next? How to make it happen for your business?
Building up your brand presence takes a more strategic approach at the planning level. It also requires a carefully cultivated campaign and efforts when starting out. However, it is possible to manage your brand publicity yourself.
Let us go through basics of a DIY Public Relations campaign.
Step one – Start with a Publicity Strategy
Think of this as a roadmap, a building block of your campaign. A good strategy will be aligned with your overall business plan; your company values and supports your business objectives.
To develop a strategy, ask yourself these questions. This will be easy as quite a lot of this is already in your business and marketing plans:
• What is that ONE problem I am solving – or I am best at solving?
• What am I offering that nobody else has, or what am I offering that has advantages over my competitors?
• What do we stand for – what are the values you want your brand t be known for?
• What I want my best customers to say about me?
• What is my brand role in the bigger picture – in my industry, in my environment, my country or globally?
Step two- Know your Audiences.
You will have several audiences, e.g. customers and/or end users, decision makers who influence these customers, industry peers, government and also media. It is a good idea to spend some time and research to define at-least the most crucial set of audiences.
Step three – Find out where your audiences are?
• Where they spend most of their time?
• What are their preferred online tools?
• What information they consume and how?
If you are a corporate trainer, most of audiences will be on business-to-business platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter/or Instagram.
If you are a restaurant owner, then most of your customers and users will be on Facebook and Instagram and social /community food and lifestyle sites. And some of your decision makers and influencers will be on LinkedIn and Twitter, too.
Step four – Identify the Media and Platforms that are Right for your Brand.
The key to building a successful, sustainable, and creative Do It Yourself Publicity is to select a few platforms and build these really well. The online world is too wide open and huge, and it is almost impossible for one to be everywhere. Also, it is much better to create 2 or 3 extraordinary platforms than having a mediocre presence on all the platforms.
Traditionally media is divided into these main categories. We will discuss Owned Media in detail in a few minutes.
• Paid media: Here you will put an advertisement in exchange of money or through an exchange of services.
• Earned media: Here you earn a space in a magazine or earn an interview or mention by a radio station. You share news or an announcement about your brand and depending up its “news-ability” factor, the media will use it to publish / run it. User generated reviews, recommendations and referral sites are also a part of earned media.
Owned media: This is a set of media that you own e.g.
o Your website
o Your blog
o Your social media pages
o YouTube channels
o Any partner or curated media
Owned media plays a very crucial role in online publicity and brand visibility and it is very easy to navigate.
• One, you have control over what is written, frequency of content and quality of content.
• Two, these tools are inter-connected and hence you can amplify the content very effectively and quite easily.
• A strong presence of owned media will eventually lead to your getting better results with earned media too.
Step five – Content Creation
This is the crux of the entire exercise and to do it well, all you need is dedicated time and creativity. It is possible to create engaging content, and build your online presence, build and increase your followers, and build conversations around your brand.
My tips for winning content on social media:
• Your content is for engagement, not for sales, so refrain from making it all about your products, services and offers.
• Strive for meaningful and authentic content, not marketing or gimmicks.
• Action is better than perfection. Don’t worry about perfecting all the skills in designing, writing, creativity, and photography before you start to create and post content.
• Create a framework of what you will, and you will not do on social media. Refrain from writing, supporting, promoting, and indulging in hate speech, racism, discrimination, and any unlawful content.
• Consistency is the key to build an online brand.
• Dedicate some time to be where your most important audience is and engage.
• Build a content calendar, i.e. a monthly plan of what you will write and post for each of the media types you are using.
• Start with your strongest skills. If you are good and comfortable with writing, focus on writing blogs, posts, and stories with good photographs. Later on, add other types of content be it video or design and graphics.
• Social Listening is your key to better engagement.
• Listen to your audience on social media; join conversations around the topics that are relevant for your brand or values you stand for. Twitter chats are a great example of social conversations.
• Learn to use the power of hashtags. This one simple trick will boost the reach of your content and elevate your presence.
My tips for winning blogs:
• Blogs are one of the most credible and easy tools to establish your brand. It is a storyteller medium and I encourage you to use it to its full potential.
• Once you have written your blog, make it a point to share the links across all your social media pages.
Step six – Boost your Presence with Earned Media
Once you have become more confident in writing blogs and posts, the next step is to approach magazines, blog sites and publications.
Identify a topic that is trending, and highlight your unique service, perspective and/or solution. Media outlets accept material, though they may not guarantee using it. All you need to do is to call their office and find how you can send them your material. Make sure to include good quality photographs with your material.
Similarly, approach your industry/business blogs and online publications and submit your new pieces.
Once your material is published, make sure to share this on all your owned channels.
As much as I would like to share more, I must wrap up this piece here. More to come soon.
This blog has originally been featured on https://mailchi.mp/59fc309214ae/diy-pr-tips-for-small-businesses
About The Author
A humanitarian strategist.
My biggest skill and gift is to use words, spoken and written, to engage with the people and inspire them to become the best version of themselves.
I love to bring facts, evidence and scientifically researched content together for different audiences.