How PR Can Spell SUCCESS for Entrepreneurs

Did you know that last year, venture capitalists invested $29.4 billion in 3,995 deals, up seven percent in dollars and four percent in deals from a year ago? Since the recession of 2008, more and more people are going into business for themselves, according to the MoneyTree Report by PwC and the National Venture Capital Association.

And while the business leaders of tomorrow are finding the capital and deals, building awareness to support these emerging ventures still needs plenty of work. Many entrepreneurs understand their industry, but not how to reach potential clients in a credible way. So, while they are working hard, and sweating even more, no one really knows what’s happening outside of word-of-mouth (or, at the very least, an appearance on Shark Tank).

Here are three easy tips that any budding entrepreneur can use to build awareness for their new business…

1. Social Networking Works. Finding your voice (before your place) within the market is the most logical opening move. For example, is your business on LinkedIn? Twitter? Why not? You could have a page up and be joining the conversation by the time you clock out today. Your corporate visibility online is crucial to the growth of your brand. Embrace the fact that people, whether they know it or not, will want to discuss how your brand fits in within the larger industry.

2. Before Global, Stay Local. Of course, you want national exposure but how about thinking locally first. How many people in the local media do you know? Better yet, how many of them know you? Think about how you can familiarize the local business editor with your company. Lunch? Networking? An introductory email? There are easy and effective ways to make your brand visible to the local media, and that should be your starting point before you go out and conquer the global media stage.

3. Learn to Pitch. It’s like in baseball: not every pitch in your arsenal works with every batter. You have to know when to offer what. When “pitching” (contacting) reporters you have to get their attention with concise copy, succinct subject lines, and by avoiding blanket spam emails. Understand that the journalists and outlets you hope to attract are getting similar emails and calls from people every day. Be compelling, tailor your thinking and your brand will rise to the top.

Shawn Paul Wood is a managing supervisor for Ketchum’s Digital practice, responsible for integrating strategy for digital capital and social media.

Prior to Ketchum, he represented the full gamut of verticals from Hollywood A-list talent to Fortune 500 companies to dynamic start-ups looking to make a difference in its field. In a former life, Shawn was an award-winning on-air talent, producer, voice-over artist, and news director.

In his spare time, Shawn is a national blogger, published author, and speaker.