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Why collaboration is key in levelling the playing field for small business PR

Any small business knows it. Trying to compete with the big business round the corner is like trying to get Brexit done. It’s never ending and there’s always someone there with a bigger ego scuppering your efforts. They might be bigger, but that’s no reason why the cards should all be stacked against you.

The optimists might think that compliance costs will fall after Brexit..don't believe it. They've risen 15% in the last decade, and where government rules are concerned snakes tend to go up and ladders down! Don't believe that companies will suddenly start paying on time either, or banks will suddenly start taking the same risks that small businesses have to.

The bottom line is that big businesses have muscle and fighting them on the same terms will just keep ending up with blooded noses for the small businesses.

Sniping away at their ankles though might just take them by surprise, and one such opportunity is in PR.

Most smaller businesses simply give up on trying to get their voices heard in the press as they don't have the cash to blow on big PR agencies. Reasonable? Yes, absolutely. Big businesses spend £15 billion on PR each year, and guess what...the big agencies are happy to take it, as would we all.

This leaves smaller businesses in the PR shadows, but pretending to be big by making the most of social media. Smaller businesses spend three times as much cash on social media than on traditional PR, yet the value of independent journalists and commentators making a positive comment about a brand hits the consumer four times as powerfully as a 'We're great, buy our product' advert.

But, hold the presses - times are changing

The onslaught of freelancing, the gig economy and the use of clever online platforms are popping up as disrupting go-to solution for those businesses with a hunger for PR, but not the budgets to feed large established agencies.

Search Engine technology means that freelancers with specific skills and often working in jeans and tee shirts (and probably no socks) from home can link directly with small businesses looking for one off contracts that need doing at an affordable cost, and no long term tie ins. Through these PR is alive and kicking for small businesses, and platforms like PR Cavalry have potential nomadic clients volumes well in excess of large traditional agencies.

The freelancers and the small agencies still need the tools though. Without them they might talk a good story but still won't compete. But the answer is at hand

Just as technology has put freelancers and clients together, so it has also linked up smaller businesses and journalists through online really affordable platforms like JournoLink, giving all the tools to manage a client's PR but at less than the price of a daily cup of coffee .

These individual platforms have a choice. They can fight their corners alone and risk becoming driven out by the establishment (Harry and Meghan take note!) or collaborate to create composite and attractive solutions for the cost-conscious 5 million small businesses out there gagging for media fame.

In that the 2010's was the decade of the technology driven platforms, the 2020's stands to be the decade of collaborations.

Watch this space...and the bill boards.

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