When writing a business plan, oftentimes business plan writers refer to, "promoting the business using PR." But what is PR and how does it relate to your business—more importantly how can it increase sales and how do you construct a good PR campaign? Like any business initiative you must first identify a plan and best decide how that plan shall be conveyed and to what audience.
However, you must first understand the definition of a small business public relations plan. One of the best definitions I have come across is this submittal by Steve Bolerjack, "PR is simply accurate, consistent and timely communications that convey the right message to the right audience."
Modern PR is not a fancy campaign put in place by large corporations with seemingly endless resources. Your business plan can include a PR campaign from the very beginning. In fact, many businesses begin their PR campaign long before their doors open. There are three primary steps when engaging the public: 1) identify your audience, 2) develop a PR plan and 3) develop a relationship with and use the local media.
With any PR campaign, it is important that you clearly identify and understand your audience. Surprisingly, your audience is more than just your potential customers. No matter if you plan for it or not, your audience will likely include: vendors/suppliers, government agencies, employees and their families, your neighbors, the surrounding community and, of course, your potential customers.
Your PR plan should clearly define your objectives, the planned perceptions you wish to convey, and the priority messages.
Developing a relationship with the local media can be a challenge, but can be made much easier when you realize that news people are always looking for a fresh story. Therefore, the launch of your business plan in the local community can be just the story they need.
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