For any company often one of the biggest challenges is publicity, but this is especially the case with start ups and SMBs. With tight budgets and often limited experience dealing with PR and media, small businesses can often flounder when it comes to promoting themselves. They rely instead on word of mouth, a few advertisements, a website and hope for organic growth.
Jules Brooke and Simone Heydon decided small businesses and inviduals needing - or simply wanting - more deserved some help and set up their own business. Handle Your Own PR, a DIY publicity business, came into existence three years ago and now has presence in Australian, England, and the USA.
“We truly have a passion for small business,” Brooke says. “We have a full service PR agency and felt awful turning away potential clients who simply didn’t have the funds to pay for a campaign when we were aware that the media would probably love their story.”
“I was a little concerned at first that we would be ‘cannibalising’ our fee paying customers,” Heydon adds, “but then I realised these were people that would never be our clients unless we helped them grow and make some money”.
Both women believe there is no rocket science to getting publicity, people simply require a little guidance a few tools and a little know-how.
“The international growth was always part of the plan,” Brooke says, “but we didn’t expect it to happen quite so quickly. We found our New York based partner via Twitter and soon we were off and running over there. The UK partner came via a friend of a friend after we received quite a few emails and Facebook posts from UK based small businesses that wanted to know when they would be able to access a similar service to the Aussie version”.
“The UK site has literally just launched this month and we have high hopes that it will be embraced in the UK the same way it has been over here,”Heydon says
Sarah Murphy from Murphy & Daughters, a Melbourne based home wares company, used some of the Handle Your Own PR USA media contact lists to generate media coverage last year.
“I got some great exposure in Martha Stewart Magazine, C Magazine and Traditional Home. I’ve even had some interest from US Vogue,” she says. “The exposure led to quite a few retail enquiries and many online sales.”