PR 101 for your small business with Sophia Aiano, Sling & Stone

Feb 17, 2022

Dear Metigy,

I’ve established my business, created online content for my social media platforms and have started to grow my presence online. What else can I do to stand out in saturated markets today?

In this episode of This Week in Marketing we sit down with Sophia Aiano, senior account manager at Sling and Stone, to discuss the fundamentals of public relations and how you can catapult your business into the public eye.

With numerous talented individuals starting businesses of their own, it’s understandable if standing out becomes a difficult task to address. Businesses can gain unique insights to figure out what to post next, and schedule content to increase their organic reach, but what other tools can be used to complement this? 

Public Relations. This is a powerful tool to build brand awareness through the public eye. In this episode, Sophia Aiano elaborates:

“It’s an Incredibly crowded SME market today & there’s so much information in the public domain so standing out from the crowd can be a real challenge.”

Businesses will go through lengths to differentiate. Sophia further explains:

“The problem with a lack of visibility goes beyond finding customers, it trickles into every element of business – as an example, finding and retaining great talent and getting the funding you need to thrive”

What can public relations do to help an SME?

Modern PR is about much more than just monitoring how your business is perceived in the marketplace. It’s about managing internal and external communications to ensure that your stakeholders and audiences understand your value proposition and vision. You know: the value that makes them think “Yes, I want to invest my time, talent, and money into this company!”.

Sophia’s simple and quick actionable tasks that you can do 

1 Have your objectives and audience nailed down. 

Before you start to consider reaching out to the media, consider what you want to achieve. Ask your business these questions:

  • What is your goal?
  • Are you looking to raise awareness among retail decision-makers? 
  • Are you looking to raise your profile among an investor audience? Or have you launched a new skincare product & want to sell more of it? 

Consider the best tactics to use to achieve your goal. For example, if you’re looking to sell more skincare products, could you tap into influencer marketing? 

The best campaigns use a variety of tools & tactics to get your message out across the board but nailing down what you really want to achieve is the first step.

2 Your messaging needs to be simple and unique

Get your brand in check. For media, your message needs to be simple to understand and unique. Consider what makes your brand different from others. What are you saying that’s fresh? And is it being communicated in an easy to understand way? 

This means getting rid of jargon. The other thing that’s important to mention here is just how key your owned channels are. This includes your website & social channels. What’s the first thing that anyone does these days when they learn something new? They Google it. And this is very much the case with journalists and customers alike. 

As an example, imagine pitching a story to media on your new sustainable product. You’ve secured a fantastic opportunity and the story goes live looking great. Then potential customers see the piece, go to your website but there’s no mention of sustainability on there – they will very quickly start to question your brand & motive. 

Or you pitch a story to a journalist, they go onto your Twitter page & it’s full of negative customer enquiries – there’s potential for a very different story to arise. First impressions are made very very quickly & it’s tough work changing these so my advice is to focus on getting that first impression right. Consider whether your social channels are in check, your website has been updated and you’re singing the same tune across all of your channels – you need to be consistent. 

3 Implement storytelling 

First impressions are more important than ever before. With only two national newspapers in Australia versus the 10 that exist in the UK, it would be important to have a story that really stands out. If you think about the amount of news churned out every day, there really aren’t that many publications or journalists, and things get even smaller when you start delving into niches such as technology or retail. 

That means it’s even more important to consider why your story is important, what makes it different, why it’s relevant to readers and being clear, concise and bold with your message. No journalist wants to read an A4 page about why your brand is fantastic – they want short snappy sentences on the impact you’re having, why this is relevant now and what readers can take away. 

I’d also just say that not everything constitutes news – it’s more important than ever to be selective with what stories you’re sharing and who you’re sharing them with. Think of it as quality over quantity.

Public Relations: In summary

It’s truly a crowded SME space today and PR is a tool that can help you generate traction, cut through a saturated market and shape how your brand is perceived. This will help you reach more customers and expose you to the right stakeholders like investors, fundraisers or the next best employee to hire. 

So start defining your objectives & audience and get your brand in check. Then you can move on to storytelling. Thinking about your message, why it’s important and why it matters now. 

Download the transcript for the podcast here

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