So, you’ve been running a small business for a while now, and you’re wondering, “How can I spice things up and make my brand top-of-mind in this cutthroat world?”.
While it is fundamental to have a great product or service, brands need to create a story so captivating that it stops people in their tracks and gets them to take notice.
That’s where “earned media” comes in.
Essentially, it’s free publicity that you can get by doing noteworthy things: like launching a groundbreaking product, partnering with another business, or contributing to the industry and economy.
Now you’re probably thinking, “But how do I actually get this free publicity?”.
The answer lies in Public Relations (PR), a strategic communication process that helps to build relationships with your customers, the media, and the public.
Considering that small businesses and startups make up 98.5% of all businesses in Malaysia, as well as constitute most companies in Singapore, it is ever more important to leverage on strategic PR to compete with the big dogs and ultimately level the playing field.
With that, here are six ways you can use PR to get that all-important earned media, and take your business to the next level.
Spot your target audience and media channels
If you want your PR campaign to hit it out of the park, you need to have a solid strategy in place.
In today’s digital world, it is especially important to know who your target audience is, and choose the right media outlets to reach them. That way, you can ensure your message gets heard and hits home.
Plus, having a plan in place means you won’t waste any precious time, energy or resources — you’re making every effort count.
Particularly for small businesses, remember to do your research and get to know the ins and outs of your customers’ behaviours, wants, and needs. This allows you to create marketing efforts that really resonate with them, leaving a longer-lasting impression.
Also, don’t forget to build relationships with media outlets that are relevant to your industry. They can really help amplify your message and get it top-of-mind to the right people, making it a worthwhile investment.
Unleash your inner creativity and craft compelling brand stories
Compelling stories can make all the difference in connecting with your customers, building a loyal fanbase, and getting your brand noticed by more people.
That’s why earned media through PR is so important for small businesses. While it may take time to be effective, PR is a long-term strategy that can help you achieve remarkable success and transform your business growth over time.
Additionally, business will only become more competitive as time progresses. This means that the time is now for small businesses to stand out from the crowd by creating brand stories that will win both media attention and the hearts of their audience.
And this is where Elliot & Co comes in. Here, we understand the incredible impact of earned media and the power of storytelling. By merging these two, we create more impact through brand and product positioning, and thus connecting with the target audience more effectively.
For instance, one of our clients, Mölnlycke, the world-leading medical products and solutions company based in Sweden, planned a grand expansion in Malaysia. The PR strategy employed touched on relevant topics such as their commitment to helping Malaysia fulfil its sustainable development goals, economic growth, and infrastructure innovation – all while aiming to reach net zero emissions.
With over 43 coverages secured (New Straits Times, Astro Awani, Berita Harian, and many more) and a total of 830 million audience reached, the campaign definitely ended on a really high note.
Essentially, successful businesses can create a special connection and empathise with their audience by sharing their mission and brand values. That’s why we believe that crafting memorable brand stories that resonate with people is the key to effective, top-of-mind PR.
Boost your online presence on social media
Social media can be a powerful tool for small businesses seeking earned media coverage.
Southeast Asians are avid consumers of social media. In Malaysia alone, 89% of the population are social media users.. This means that businesses can reach out to even more audiences by sharing an array of mesmerising content with their audience and accumulate an abundance of likes and views, which then translates to a loyal following.
By using relevant hashtags and keywords on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, you can make it super easy for people to find and interact with your posts.
And if you go the extra mile by sharing user-generated content, or take the time to respond to comments and messages, you can build a solid online community and become a trusted source for consumers.
And here’s the best part — it’s practically free! Small businesses can reach more people, gain loyal customers, and grow their fan base without spending a single cent, just by posting top-of-mind content. Now that’s earned media.
Get your story heard with press releases and pitches
Although there are many advanced digital tools accessible today, conventional PR strategies remain as effective as ever for small businesses seeking to gain earned media.
In fact, 80% of journalists still rely on good old-fashioned press releases and media pitches to find newsworthy brand stories.
Which is why at Elliot & Co, we’ve developed a foolproof method for crafting persuasive press releases and pitches that perfectly capture your brand’s narrative and give journalists all the info they need to cover your story.
Whether you’re launching a new product or sharing insights on industry trends, these tried-and-true tactics are powerful when it comes to boosting your brand’s visibility, building credibility, and positioning your products and services.
So, don’t let anyone tell you that traditional PR is dead — with the support of Elliot & Co, you can expect to receive significant media attention and make headlines in no time.
Leverage the influence of media and PR events
Media and PR events are the chance for businesses to show off and position your amazing products or services, and get some serious buzz going about the brand.
Whether it’s an exciting new product launch, a dazzling grand opening, or a heartfelt charitable event, the goal of earned media is to make it an unforgettable experience that leaves journalists and readers wanting more.
And that’s not all — engaging with the media can really help small businesses build important relationships that will absolutely pay off in the long run.
It’s all about boosting your brand reputation and positioning your products in the marketplace. So, make it a point to get your business out on the carpet and noticed!
Measure your earned media impact
When all is said and done, we know it can be tough to measure the impact of any media coverage.
Nevertheless, our cutting-edge tools and team of experts can take things up a notch by helping you track your earned media throughout the campaign. This means that you can be informed on crucial metrics like targeted audience reach, keywords associated with your brand, brand sentiment, and many others.
This data is valuable for any business as it provides insights into how their campaign is resonating with their audience. With this information, adjustments can be made to the PR strategy to achieve desired results.
Moreover, utilising this information to make informed executive decisions has the potential to significantly accelerate your company’s growth and establish it as a prominent brand that resonates with people.
So, all of this is to say: small businesses can definitely harness the power of earned media to showcase what makes them special.
By spotlighting your unique selling points and what sets you apart from the competition, you can speedily rise to become industry leaders in your own right.
With some clever PR and storytelling, small businesses can get people talking and thinking about their products or services, and ultimately, keep them coming back for more.
PR and earned media is all about building brand recognition, customer loyalty, and establishing credibility where it matters. So, let’s get your brand stories out there and show everyone what makes your business the bee’s knees!