What is a small business marketing and PR Plan, anyway?
Every business owner’s dream:
You have this great new business idea, that will make you lots of money and will change the world. You just have to get the word out there.
Or maybe it’s not world-changing, but your idea is just a really great way to sell more products, help more clients, or build more market share. In other words, it’s going to make more money.
You just have to get the word out there.
What the Heck Does that Mean?
You’ve all heard it before, maybe even used the phrase yourself. But what exactly does it mean to “get the word out there?” Seems pretty vague, right?
Do you think Steve Jobs one day decided to “just start making phones?”
I guarantee you Tom Brady doesn’t break the huddle by saying “I’m going to throw the ball into the air and you guys try to catch it.”
J.K. Rowling doesn’t sit down and write best-seller after best-seller without a plot or a storyline…(well, maybe she does…but you get the picture).
That’s how many businesses approach their PR and marketing. Whether a new service, an existing product, or an event to build publicity, they take the “spray and pray” approach. Which is, just start doing stuff and hope something sticks.
Most of the time, it just makes a mess.
A Small Business Marketing and PR Plan is More than “Stuff”
It doesn’t have to be that way. Running a smart, strategic PR campaign doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated. In fact, having a simple plan to guide your efforts will make you more efficient and more effective at driving revenue.
And that’s the goal, right? To make money? So what exactly is a small business marketing and PR plan?
We use the term “PR” to mean a lot of things, not just media outreach and publicity. It also means content development, shared and social media, and paid media through social campaigns and email marketing. (For a great primer on what today’s PR is all about, check out this post by Gini Dietrich.)
In short, your small business marketing and PR is the road map for your business to build an audience, communicate your value proposition to that audience, and compel that audience to action.
Every plan should include the following:
- Goals that are specific, measurable, and tied directly to business outcomes (i.e., revenue).
- Strategy that explains how you will reach your pr campaign goals.
- Tactics that support your strategy – the “stuff” you are going to do, but only if those activities support your goals!
- Timelines and milestones to track your progress along the way.
- Budget or estimates to ensure resources are available to support the plan.
This framework can help a business of any shape, size, or type. Whether you’re a small law firm, or a major retailer, or a Fortune 500 tech company, your small business marketing and PR should include these elements.
We’ll dig deeper into your small business marketing and PR in future posts. For now, here’s a little exercise for you:
Step 1: Choose one service, product, or event that you need to promote. Let’s call it your “widget.”
Step 2: Set a clear, measurable goal (or goals) for your widget that will translate to improved business outcomes. This could be sales, leads, or prospect meetings, but they need to be measurable to your plan.
Step 3: Write a short strategy of how you will reach these goals, and include 2-3 tactics to support each strategy.
Step 4: Build in a simple timeline and budget for your efforts so you can track your progress and expenses along the way.
Step 5: Start working that plan!