Most people are familiar with the concept of “doing it yourself,” especially in relation to things like making over their kitchens or creating their own wedding invitations. But this concept of taking on more work yourself doesn’t often fly in the small business world.
This stands to reason, since entrepreneurs are arguably the busiest species around. To get you to think about learning new skills and devoting time toward applying them sounds like a cruel joke. But before you count yourself out, think about this. If you could take small steps today to lay the groundwork for a solid brand image and company growth down the road, wouldn’t you want to do that?
There’s a sweet spot when companies are still new or small enough, in which engaging with a PR consultant or agency would be overkill. In these scenarios, there’s no need (and too few resources) for this to make sense. But this point in time offers you a prime opportunity to make a splash in your business’ PR… on your own. Yes, you can truly do it yourself when it comes to PR, if you have the right mindset and tools. Here’s a look at three fallacies, to help reset your outlook to be a winning one.
Myth #1: I Don’t Have Time
Who among us hasn’t uttered those words? I know I have, but I also have learned that people make time in life for what matters. If you believe media placements, content generation, speaking engagements and awards can help raise awareness of your brand and spur company growth, these things deserve some of your time. The good news about DIY PR is that you can start small and slowly.
I recommend beginning with your company blog. Aim to produce content that is valuable to your audience and then gradually increase the frequency of your posts until your blog is active and robust. Then you can move your focus onto creating case studies and testimonials with your clients, then diving into media relations and so forth. The point is to dedicate the nooks and crannies of your time to seemingly small activities that help lay a solid foundation.
Myth #2: I Don’t Know Enough
This is a fair statement! But instead of feeling restricted by your lack of expertise in PR, get excited about it. Realize that is a unique opportunity for you to expand your knowledge and learn about things completely outside your comfort zone. Get your hands on every article, book and other resource you can to give yourself a personal crash course in the public relations field. You’re a smart business owner – you’ll likely pick it up faster than you think!
You may never be a bonafide PR expert, but you can definitely master enough of the principles and their corresponding tactics in order to be effective in handling your small business’ starting initiatives. The extra bonus of learning all this yourself is that you will be ahead of the pack when you do eventually engage with an agency. Instead of feeling overwhelmed or confused by the approach a PR team proposes, you’ll have a deeper level of understanding and be able to be more involved in your brand’s PR direction. I’ve never heard of a time when a founder (or leader) having a little more knowledge about PR was a bad thing.
Myth #3: I Won’t Make an Impact
It always amazes me that some of the savviest people out there (entrepreneurs) sometimes lack the most confidence! Please take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Most people – including PR professionals – have questioned their level of influence at one point or another. There will be times that you will publish several pieces of content on your blog, submit multiple speaking proposals or send 50 media pitches, and get absolutely no response. This can be demoralizing, but don’t despair. PR is a marathon, not a sprint. Every action you take to strategically gain exposure for your brand will work toward a bigger picture that promises results! It takes time, and nowhere in doing your own PR does the phrase “instant gratification” exist. But good things come to those who wait – and are consistent with their efforts.
Guest article by Rebecca Hasulak author & creator of DIY PR: Public Relations and Content Hacks for the Lean Start-up and the owner of Quotable PR & Content. Connect with her at www.diy-publicrelations.com or on Twitter @diy_PR. here is the link to her book on Amazon.