Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Zink Reveals Good PR Secrets

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Zink Reveals Good PR Secrets

Article excerpt

BUSINESS SCORE CARD

As chapter chairman of Manasota SCORE, I am asked by other chapter officials, "How do you do it?"

"Do what?" I ask.

"Get all the press you get for your chapter."

The answer is a simple, two-part answer: (1) We receive a lot of press because we are doing unique and "newsworthy" things, and (2) we have a public relations expert who helps us spread the word to our public.

According to Susan Hicks of PRecise Communications, our public relations consultant, "PR gives your target audience information about your company, your activities and your products or services. The goals are to build and maintain a positive public image and to create strong relationships with your customers, clients, prospects, employees and the general public."

We also portray a consistent message. Here are some examples of the type of information we release:

We announce the election of our new chapter officers, our client of the year, workshops, our Success Strategies for Business Owners monthly MeetUp events, the chapter's recent achievement of Platinum status and our being selected as the District Chapter of the Year.

We share information on new initiatives we've helped to create, such as an export program that connects companies with State College of Florida student interns who are interested in international trade. The adjunct professor working with the program is a SCORE mentor. We also developed a program called Building Bridges for Entrepreneurs with the Manatee Community Federal Credit Union.

We promoted the creation of our podcast series, Been There, Done That! with Dennis Zink, which is now the official small business podcast series for National SCORE, which has over 300 offices and 11,000 mentors in the United States. The national website receives over 250,000 unique visitors per month.

We also spread the word about SCORE as we work closely with local chambers of commerce, municipalities and other nonprofits, lending expertise throughout the community by piggy-backing on synergistic relationships. We make speeches to chambers, banks and MeetUp groups throughout the year. We help entrepreneurs develop and hone their skills, such as creating an effective elevator pitch, and we've served as coaches in several quick-pitch contests each year with Spark Growth - Station 2 Innovation Center.

We helped develop and facilitate the Manatee Chamber CEO Roundtable. We provide a mentor panel to help judge USF-Manatee MBA student projects, and we help hundreds of students at Manatee Technical College learn what it takes to start a business.

I write this small business column as one more effort to promote what we do. This column generates high-caliber SCORE mentor and client leads, and it shares the expertise of SCORE mentors and podcast guests.

I asked Susan what a small business can do to improve their PR efforts. Here are some of her suggestions.

In a small business, you want to put out information about where your company has improved, changed or grown. You can also promote information on relevant training and certification or awards that the owner or employees have completed or earned, as well as any business milestones or significant accomplishments.

Often, small-business owners are so busy running and growing their businesses that they don't stop to think about PR. …

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