The UK is blessed with some wonderful small businesses and while their entrepreneurial flair can be commended, they sometime forget the importance of using the media to publicise their business. I have just returned from a holiday visiting my brother who manages a National Trust café (The Hidden Hut – check it out, it’s amazing) on a private beach near Portscatho in Cornwall. The spot is one of the most beautiful in the country and as I was sat with my daughter enjoying some soup I got speaking to a couple who informed me that they had seen the Hut on Caroline Quentin’s Cornwall show six months ago and decided that they needed to visit it. Talk about the power of positive PR. During a terrible summer of rain, rain and more rain their business has flourished because they have embraced all the free publicity thay can get their hands on…..as well as a shed load of hard work and a brilliant product.
My brother has always understood the power of communication, not just in the kitchen but also via PR, social media and advertising to help maximize the potential of his various business ventures. Considering most of my friends and parents don’t understand what PR is, I am always secretly quite impressed.
I have helped him out over the years to set up restaurant reviews with local journalists or to promote their participation at fates/exhibitions/regattas and he has always impressed boss after boss with free coverage for their business. That said, all his recent success has been his own work by simply following a couple of tips that work.
Below are my six top tips for maximising your small businesses exposure with an effective communications plan
1. Make friends with a local journalist.
2. Set up channels to communicate to customers and build a sense of community rather than just selling. Facebook and Twitter are perfect for this. You never know what connections a customer has.
3. Ensure you have a simple website where people can contact you and get a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve/ethos.
4. Understand why you are newsworthy.
5. Look for free PR. Contact larger organisations or companies you work with and offer yourself as a case study. Let them pay to promote you.
6. Timing. Sit down and plan when and how you are going to communicate your story. Everything needs to work at the same time and if one channel isn’t working you will soon hit a brick wall.