How to keep your small business in the spotlight

Image by Markus Winkler from Pixabay

By Mark G. Auerbach

We can’t make headlines every day but keeping our names and faces in the news is great for any small business. There’s an accounting firm in my town. I don’t know if they’re large or small, but it seems that every time I pick up the newspaper, one of their employees is being honored–new hires, promotions, retirements. I also see the company listed as sponsors of all kinds of community events, from little league teams to concerts. So, when I think about accounting services, I think of them.

I like to see my name in lights as much as everyone. And, as a small business owner, when my name and face is out there, people think about me, when they have public relations and marketing needs.

So, a few ways to keep yourself on the marquee.

-Sponsor a community event like a concert, play, sporting match, fundraiser, assuming that the organization you sponsor will list and promote their sponsors. Then, send out a media release and post to social media about the group you’re sponsoring, with a header, “We’re proud to be a sponsor of the ABC’s DEF event.”

-Recognize an employee as a new hire, promotion, retirement, or other accomplishment, and send out a media release and post to social media about that individual, with a header, “We’re proud of our colleague.” And, when you build your media list, ask the colleague if you can send the announcement to their alma mater’s alumni association for use in their publication.

-Underwrite the cost of a local organization’s newsletter, in exchange for a tagline, “Newsletter printed courtesy of….” This could be your child’s school, a local church or community center, a fundraiser. Or underwrite the postage for a similar credit.

Choosing causes to support

You should always make sure the organization that you support is one that is compatible with your company goals, and one of non-controversy. Stay away from political campaigns, or religious organizations that lobby. Recognize that some community efforts you attach your name to might have more impact or media coverage than others. An effort to clean up a community pond or to provide after school activities might frame your company in a great light.

If you manufacture a product, consider donating that in lieu of cash. A local restaurant in our community caters food provided to musicians between rehearsals and performances. It pays off, because the musicians return to the restaurant after performances and tell their friends about the restaurant’s generosity. A local business helped a small non-profit that I’m involved with by running a mailing through their postage meter, and picking up the tab for what would have been an expensive newsletter, all for a small credit, “This newsletter mailed with the support of ABC company.” A travel company client once ordered lip balm in bulk, and had their company logo and website on the label. They handed these out at sporting events, travel events, and they were popular among the recipients. So, every time they moisturized, they were reminded of the travel company. I’ve seen a couple of companies donate masks to local charities with their logos on them. A sign of the times.

Use your social media to stay in the spotlight, because many reporters and producers find their next big story in their Facebook feeds (or Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and even LinkedIn). My company posts social media daily to tout our clients’ accomplishments, as well as our employees. And, I have college-age people working for me, so when they make an honor roll, or participate in a community fundraiser, I’m the first to publicly commend them (because their audience might well become my audience).

And, when you keep your company’s name in the spotlight in a positive way, that’s a newsmaker.
Mark G. Auerbach is principal at Mark G. Auerbach Public Relations, a Springfield, MA, based marketing, public relations, development, and events consultancy. You can find more information about Mark at Facebook and LinkedIn. Mark also produces ArtsBeat on radio for Pioneer Valley Radio and on TV and radio on WCPC15 and 89.5fm/WSKB. He also produces the TV and radio series On The Mark and Athenaeum Spotlight with Guy McLain.

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