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Using proven PR wisdom to compete against big brands

As an SME, your capital is limited. So are your time and resources. And yet, you need to spread the word to all the right people about your business – something you can do with a little PR wisdom.
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Competing against established brands can be a daunting task; it seems like rivals have everything you don’t: assets, connections, visibility, resources…and teams that are capable of tapping into all of it. Does that mean you can’t compete? That you can’t gain the attention of your target audience through public relations? No way! Here’s a little PR wisdom:

Your audience has a limited attention span. How do I know? Because every prospect does. Today’s average human is over-stimulated and over-extended. They are looking for quality information about quality services…and if your business fits the bill,

it doesn’t matter how big, small, old or new you are. What matters is that you’ve spoken a language they understand, through an outlet they respect.

How can you put your business on the prospect map? And help it to gain the attention it needs to compete with established brands? Follow these pearls of PR wisdom.

Give media outlets what no one else can

You are unique. What you’re offering is unique (or at least it should be). Capitalise on this uniqueness, and your competition will seem less intimidating, and have less power over you. Why? Because they can’t compete with what they don’t have.

Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is what will position your brand in the market, it’s what will attract prospects to your product or service, and it’s what will cause journalists to take notice and want to be part of the movement. The formula is simple: Your USP + gaps in the market = Your pitch to media outlets.

Write a better press release

One of my biggest offerings of PR wisdom is that you should learn how to write a press release – not enough people known how, and that’s good news for you! The most successful press releases are about conveying exciting information (not about self-promotion), are written in a journalistic style (third-person, inverted pyramid) so that little or no editing is needed, are timely and relevant to current events and are direct and not verbose.

They also include direct quotes, and offer the journalist plenty of reason to believe that its publication will contribute to their professional reputation. Write a better press release than the competition, and it won’t matter if you’re a start-up or a legacy brand.

Relate to the public on a personal level

Ask virtually any consumer or business manager whom they would rather work with – a small business or a large conglomerate – and the answer is almost always the same. People want personal experiences, and want to know not only what they’re buying, but from whom they’re buying it.

When you take public relations into your own hands, by getting into the public and relating to them, you put yourself in a position to dominate the market. Know where to find your audience…and then go to them.

Find complementary brands with great press coverage

A little PR wisdom for you: Like fish and chips or pie and mash, some brands sell better together. Ask yourself what brands have customer lists that contain high concentrations of your ideal clients, and then seek to forge partnerships with those brands. Show how you’ll bring impressive value to customers and how your brand can boost profits. Do this right, and your business will amass significant exposure alongside this complementary brand’s media coverage.

Prove your expertise in an unconventional way

One of the best ways to gain media attention is to establish yourself as a thought leader, or a progressive expert in your field. Look for gaps in service by paying close attention to what your target audience members are griping about. What aren’t they getting? What’s missing? And what’s being done wrong by the big brands?

Address these issues, whilst giving away enough information to shape positive perceptions about your expertise. This will prove more valuable than any bank account or massive client list.

Team up with micro-influencers

Okay, maybe you can’t get Richard Branson or Khloe Kardashian to promote your product (yet); however, there are some people out there who have massive pull within their own tribes, and who would take an interest in your business. Some are bloggers with global audiences; others simply run their own Facebook groups. No matter how they influence, you can bet that finding a micro-influencer who has connections to your ideal customers will prove far more significant for your brand than any broad-reaching, unfocussed news coverage.

Compete for Awards

What are you best at doing? Where does your passion lie? And what are people always complementing you on? Then with the help of some Google research, identify which awards would make sense for you to enter.

Remember that the people who have won awards didn’t receive that fantastic phone call out of the blue – they found a contest that fit their skillset and competed to win it! This is a fabulous way to get into local, regional and industry publications.

When it comes to business and PR wisdom, I’m here to attest that size does not matter. In fact, I suggest you begin now to leverage your “small business” status as a benefit. Looking for more advice on achieving public relations success, for scoring the highest visibility and awareness possible? Then you need to connect with Adia PR. Learn more here.

Alison Shadrack is founder of Adia PR.

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Real Business

As the champion of UK enterprise for 20 years, Real Business is the most-read SME website dedicated to high-growth businesses and entrepreneurs. Through daily news, unique insight and invaluable guides we are an essential resource for thriving businesses.

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