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OPINION: Step up your business public relations efforts

Six ways businesses can promote their brand, products
Networking opportunities, including Lunch & Learn.
Business after-hours events are held locally.

According to an article by Young Entrepreneur Council, if you are a new business in your industry you will need to get your name out and raise your credibility as a reputable brand. To do this, you will need to have a public relations plan that builds relationships with people like journalists and your target audience.

The council gathered six tips from entrepreneurs explaining how to get noticed and share what your business can do for that audience.

Dissect your local periodicals

If you break down how your community’s magazines and newspapers are put together, you’ll uncover some new opportunities you may not have originally considered.

By doing this, you may find some opportunities you hadn’t thought of before. Brandon Stapper, CEO of printing business 858 Graphics, suggests looking for new areas to pitch. Classified ads, small stories, feature stories and calendar of events are all areas to consider and will give you more options for your PR circuit.

Talk to journalists like people

Build relationships with the journalists who would cover your business, don’t just pester them. This is according to Douglas Hutchings CEO of solar power business Picasolar. Press releases may not always be the best option. Talk to journalists, find out what their goals and objectives are in regards to their paper and content. They know what their target audience finds important and it may differ from what you think it is.

Join your Chamber of Commerce.

Nicole Munoz, founder and CEO of SEO and marketing company StartRankingNow, advises businesses to take advantage of the variety of programs and services a chamber of commerce offers. It’s a great way to get your company name into the community via their website, newsletters and networking opportunities. San Benito County Chamber information can be found at www.sanbenitocountychamber.com.

Look to the comments section on existing press mentions

Can you turn a negative PR situation into a positive one? Brennan White, CEO of intelligent platform Cortex, believes you can. White suggests responding quickly and professionally is key. He says you will get negative online comments any time you have “significant ink." Find these negative comments, pay attention to what they are saying and understand their side. Engage with them in a gracious manner and you could turn them around and even lead to a retraction of their statement.

Don’t underestimate non-traditional media channels.

Don’t get hyper focused on traditional media such as magazines and TV. Leila Lewis, founder and CEO of wedding PR agency Be Inspired PR, suggests starting with other channels. There are several things a business needs, such as website traffic, brand awareness and a customer base. You can build this through online press, an updated website and social media.

Rock that company swag

Wearing branded clothing and accessories can be a great way to make people aware of your name. Roger Lee, CEO of financial technology business Captain401, reminds us that branded items such as shirts and jackets are a walking advertisement. Even something as small as a nice name tag for each employee puts your business name in front of people every day. You and your employees become ambassadors of your brand by wearing them around town and positively representing your company to the public.

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