Welcome to the first of our How To guides for small-medium sized businesses. At Time Etc we know what areas entrepreneurs and business owners need supporting in, so these articles aim to inform and assist…
PR can be one of the most cost-effective ways of getting publicity for your business.
Small businesses with an exciting product or service to promote are often in a prime position for getting great press coverage. Why, then, do so many businesses shy away from it?
We believe it’s straightforward and that you don’t have to be a PR professional to do it well. It’s all about identifying opportunities and creating newsworthy information that you can relate back to your business.
Here are some of our pointers on doing DIY PR:
- Identify your selling points. Think about what makes your business different, and what you do that makes you stand out in your market. List all of these ideas, and then think about how to turn them into newsworthy stories. It’s important to remember though that what might be groundbreaking news for you might not be for your target reader.
- Read the news. Keep up to date with what the media are talking about – in newspapers, on websites and on Twitter – so you can keep your content relevant and new.
- Research your target media. Spend time identifying which publications you want your business to appear in – and make sure you read them! You’ll be able to see the kind of stories they write about, and their editorial style, and tailor your press releases to suit them.
- Speak to journalists. Contrary to popular belief, journalists aren’t all to be feared, so call them up for a chat! Do your research first, make sure you have your story idea ready for them and remember that journalists are time-poor, so keep it short and to-the-point and they’ll thank you for it.
- Know what makes a great press release. The key is to keep it concise, interesting and (this old chestnut again) relevant. If you can hook your audience in with an interesting statistic or fact, even better. It’s also advisable to target your press release as much as possible – sending out generic press releases, no matter the audience, won’t earn you brownie points with journalists.
- Create news stories. If nothing newsworthy is on the horizon for your business – create it! Launch a new networking event, support a business initiative in your area or even create an award for your industry.
- Don’t just rely on traditional methods. PR is no longer just about sending a press release to print media. Don’t neglect online sites, forums and bloggers who are looking for content. You can also share your story by tweeting it, blogging about it and sharing it on business networking sites.
Looking for PR advice? Contact Ceri on 0844 561 0492.
Back in November it was announced that Friday 29th April would be given as an extra bank holiday because of the royal wedding, and most of the country’s employees rejoiced. Business owners perhaps slightly less so.
A lot of business owners are undeniably worried about the impact two long weekends could have on their business; April only has 18 business days so is significantly shorter than the average business month. Yet many may also be relinquishing the holiday potential – 11 days off for the price of 3!
What is most likely preventing entrepreneurs/owners of small businesses taking time off is the worry that they don’t have someone to hold the fort and will therefore lose business and money because of it.
Things are quite different with many of the business owners we work with. A fair few of our clients are jetting off for the 11 day holiday, knowing that their business is in totally safe hands and that they won’t lose anything by taking the time off. Our virtual assistants are handling everything for them in their absence – phonecalls, e-mails, diary management, enquiries and bookings – and doing so with complete confidence due to their in-depth training and knowledge.
An 11 day break from their business can be just what busy entrepreneurs need. It’s a time for them to reflect and, as many have said to us, the time when they come up with their best business ideas!
So yet another reason why, in the modern business age, outsourcing the help you need with a virtual assistant is THE way forward. Call us biased, but we’re convinced of it.
Have a great Easter weekend folks!
I was lucky enough to turn the business I started aged 17, with £150, into a multi-million pound enterprise with more than 24,000 customers, so I read with interest this week about StartUp Britain.
Launched this Monday, this initiative is a government-backed (but not funded) attempt to get more people to start their own businesses. It’s a brilliant combination of resources, links and £1500 worth of vouchers and offers to help get you started.
I’ve always believed that most people in the UK who dream of starting a business are held back by one thing – FEAR. Most of those people never really take the risk, leave stable employment and go for it. Many of those that do, quickly let fear overcome them when they discover that starting a business can be extremely difficult.
Here at Time Etc we’re lucky enough to support more than 180 business owners who have taken the plunge, started their own businesses and got through the “difficult” start-up period – but I’ve seen plenty of people spend six months working on a concept and give up within six weeks because they got a few rejections during their first round of sales calls. The fear of failure itself results in failure.
So, if fear is the number one thing that stops more people starting and succeeding with their own businesses, is StartUp Britain a good thing? Will it help to encourage more people to take the plunge and get started?
I certainly think so.
Putting aside the £1500 vouchers (nice touch, great PR hook but they’re probably not going to change anyone’s life) it is clear to me that StartUp Britain is a very high profile way to make those people on the verge of starting their own business feel more supported and less fearful. It’s a bundle of resources to help you on your way, backed by a friendly set of human faces – people who have been there and done it.
There are plenty of business resources out there that do a similar thing, but none has achieved the PR coup that we’ve seen with StartUp Britain, who have had heaps of tabloid and news coverage all over the UK.
If StartUp Britain can, in any way, make someone who is thinking of starting a business feel a little more supported and less fearful, it has succeeded. At the very least it’s got us all talking about start-ups again – which is absolutely brilliant.
For more information visit http://www.startupbritain.org
Founder of Time Etc
Ooh what a lovely Wednesday.
The sun is shining, the office is abuzz and we’ve all had a massage! Hurrah.
When you’ve got a busy job it’s easy to get all stressed and tense. So, we can honestly say there is nothing more welcome than a monthly visit from our lovely resident therapist, Nat, for a stress-busting massage.
We’re pretty darn lucky to get this luxury every month, and we realised it’s not just us PAs that are in need of some R&R – but busy entrepreneurs like those we work for must reeeally be feeling the pressure.
Now, we love nothing better than to make the lives of stressed, busy business-owners easier, so we had a little thought – what if, out of the loveliness of the bottom of our super-organised hearts, we gave some massages away to frazzled entrepreneurs?
So, if you’re an on-the-go business owner in need of de-stressing watch this space. Details of how you can take some time out at Time Etc towers will be available shortly…