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    19 Replies Latest reply on Feb 3, 2009 3:08 PM by SBC Team

    Event: Affordable and effective PR strategies

    SBC Team Guide
      In today's economy, credibility and media awareness are crucial to the successful growth of small and medium sized businesses. You can't just rely on marketing and advertising plans that only get you search engine ads. You must strongly consider PR.

      Small business don't have unlimited resources for outside Public Relations help - many forego PR entirely because of the high cost most firms charge for monthly retainers. Join Matt Ellis, a leader in shaping the image people have about businesses, as he answers questions community members have about affordable and effective public relation strategies and media management.

      About Matt:

      Matt Ellis is the founder and principal of Ellis Strategies, Inc., a strategic communications firm in Boston, MA. Matt is an award winning journalist with 20+ years of experience in television news and an acute understanding of how the media works.

      Matt led teams of broadcast journalists cover local news and produce Emmy Award winning programs as a News Director at WBZ TV in Boston and WPRI TV in Providence and as Executive Producer for WCBS TV in New York.

      If you have a question for Matt, post it here and then join us on Tuesday February 3rd at 2PM EST for Matt's response. You can also pose a question to Matt anytime during the event hour.
        • Re: Event February 3: Affordable and effective PR plans
          nila888 Wayfarer
          Thanks for your info...I am always in the market for affordable cost effective pr
          • Re: Event February 3: Affordable and effective PR plans
            SBC Team Guide
            Community,

            Matt Ellis will be making his second appearance on the SBOC on tomorrow February 3rd at 2PM EST. He will be answering all questions relating to affordable and effective PR (Public Relations). Check out his first event on getting your business featured in the media, "Leverage the local media to promote your business," and you'll see he is truly an expert.

            Event: Leverage the local media to promote your biz

            Ask your PR questions here and check back on Tuesday for his response.

            The SBOC Team
            • Re: Event February 3: Affordable and effective PR plans
              SBC Team Guide
              Matt will be posting as PR_Boston this afternoon at 2PM EST. Check out his latest article, "How do you get your money's worth for PR"

              http://smallbusinessonlinecommunity.bankofamerica.com/blogs

              The SBOC Team
              • Re: Event February 3: Affordable and effective PR strategies
                Vince Adventurer
                Hi Matt,

                Thanks for coming back!

                Affordable is a great word to use in this Community. Are there any FREE stratetgies you could recommend?

                Vince
                  • Re: Event February 3: Affordable and effective PR strategies
                    PR_Boston Newbie
                    Vince,
                    Some business owners are successful at doing their own PR. The most important thing to remember is when you contact the media with a pitch to feature you or your business be sure the idea has news value. Take a look at the kinds of stories that newspapers or other outlets write about businesses and ask yourself what does my company do or offer that is innovative, unique or valuable to the marketplace.
                    I recommend making contact with media people by email and try not to call them when they're on deadline.
                      • negotiate your deal
                        PR_Boston Newbie
                        Recently I was asked by a client to shift our relationship from a monthly retainer to a project oriented deal. The client said they had a certain amount to spend over the year and they would break it down into 4 equal payments based on 4 projects. Most firms accept project work, especially these days. But, it is better for the client if they have access to their PR person whenever they need them--not just for press releases but for consultation and brainstorming.
                        In this situation, I suggested they divide their total by 12 so I would receive a payment each month. That way they have access to our services whenever they need. Project work is not always cheaper so, as a small business owner, it's up to you to negotiate your deal just like you would any other.
                        1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • cost effective PR
                      PR_Boston Newbie
                      Have you thought about PR but decided it's just too expensive for your sized business? Here's something to consider: You can engage with a small PR firm to get one or two press releases written and distributed to the press for under $2,000. When you consider the potential value of having your business featured in a news story that's not such a large amount.
                      • Re: Event February 3: Affordable and effective PR strategies
                        SBC Team Guide

                        Community,

                         

                        Please join me in welcoming Matt Ellis back to the SBOC.

                         


                        Matt, please take it away!

                         


                        The SBOC Team
                        • Re: Event February 3: Affordable and effective PR strategies
                          Interpreter Wayfarer
                          This may be a pretty broad question, so I apologize in advance, how do small business owners gain credibility?
                            • Re: Event February 3: Affordable and effective PR strategies
                              PR_Boston Newbie
                              That's a great question. First you have to ensure you have a good reputation in your particular field. If you are known for providing a good product or service you are well on your way to getting good PR.
                              How you choose to promote your reputation is another matter. I wrote recently about how being featured in a news article provides third-party validation for your business. From a PR perspective reaching out to the media to let them know what you do--and that you have a good reputation for doing it--is a strong step towards getting recognized for your accomplishments.
                              • Prorect your reputation
                                PR_Boston Newbie
                                In any economy, the one thing you can't afford to lose is your good reputation. If something happens that affects how the world views your business it's critical that you engage with a professional who can help you manage the crisis and protect your reputation. Sometimes the media comes calling for reasons you don't want publicized. The worst thing you can do is act like an ostrich. Don't let budgets get in the way of proper crisis management--you may find yourself in a whole heap of trouble if you do.
                              • Re: Event February 3: Affordable and effective PR strategies
                                Tori Adventurer
                                Matt,

                                Public Relations seems like there would be a lot of behind-the-scenes networking. Are there affiliations/groups/organizations a small business owner can join so that they can take on some of the PR themselves.

                                ~Tori
                                  • Re: Event February 3: Affordable and effective PR strategies
                                    PR_Boston Newbie
                                    Some of the best PR you can get is through your own personal and business networks. After all, where would we be without referrals from satisfied customers and friends? It's important to be known within your business circles and one way to do that is to find the people who write about your business--whether on the Web or in the mainstream media. Make contact and offer them some background or perspective about what you do--not so they will write about you now but so you can become a source of information. You never know where that will lead.
                                      • Social media
                                        PR_Boston Newbie
                                        Every one is talking about social media and asking how to harness the power of sites like Facebook and YouTube to benefit their business.
                                        One of my clients recently created a Facebook page and committed to making a donation to a local charity every time someone signed up to be a fan. This allowed them to publicize their Facebook page without seeming too self-serving and demonstrated that they are really a community oriented business.
                                        Facebook can be a good way to promote your own message.
                                        If you're thinking about posting a video on YouTube here are a few things to consider:
                                        1-Be sure your video tells a story
                                        2-If you're doing video for the first time, keep it simple. Remember, you're promoting a business not competing for an Oscar
                                        3-Have fun. Videos that generate buzz are those that entertain and inform whether on YouTube or anywhere else
                                        1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                          • How do you promote your business?
                                            PR_Boston Newbie
                                            You may not be engaged in a PR campaign currently but you can start one by yourself. Think about how you want to promote your business and who you are trying to reach. You don't need a PR firm to generate results through Google or other search engines. If you're watching your budget consider spending a few dollars on ad-words to promote your company's Website. Just remember, your site should be up to date and contain the right message points.
                                            Also, check out the blogs and see who writes what about your kind of business. You can reply to a post and get a conversation going. It not only helps you get recognized on the pages of an influential writer, it can also get you better SEO results.
                                            1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                      • Re: Event February 3: Affordable and effective PR strategies
                                        caffeinated Scout
                                        Is PR more of an retroactive strategy, ya know like after there's been a crisis? or are there things you can do more proactively?
                                          • Re: Event February 3: Affordable and effective PR strategies
                                            PR_Boston Newbie
                                            Good question. Put it this way, if you are being reactive it's probably because of bad news. The best strategy is a proactive strategy. You want to be out there providing strong messages about your business to drive awareness, build your reputation and get recognized for what you're doing. If you are successful you will store up some equity to help defray any bad news that causes you to be reactive.
                                              • Survive 2009
                                                PR_Boston Newbie
                                                All of us are thinking about how to survive this economic downturn and emerge ready to grow and prosper. Here's something to think about as you manage your business. COMMUNICATE!
                                                It's critical to keep your customers, your stakeholders and your employees in the loop. Bad times can cause mis-innformation to circulate. You don't want to spend your valuable time and energy setting the record straight. Whether you are currently engaged in a PR program or not--you owe it to your company to be sure you are clearly and effectively communicating your mission statement, your status and your plans for the future.
                                                Good luck!
                                            • Re: Event February 3: Affordable and effective PR strategies
                                              SBC Team Guide
                                              Matt, thanks again for your time and very professional responses.

                                              Community, although our time with Matt has now concluded, feel free to discuss today's event in the forums and incorporate PR into you small business.

                                              For more information on Matt and Ellis Strategies, please visit http://www.ellisstrategies.com

                                              The SBOC Team