Green Business Bureau Blog
5 Tips For Maximizing Your Green Public Relations Budget
Timing is everything in the dynamically changing green economy, so agility is key to get the word out quickly and effectively. In the current economic climate, effective public relations is imperative for small business owners who are adding green product or services and startup entrepreneurs with great ideas for a service or product without the funding to pay for adequate marketing.
“PR is seen as the most credible channel of communication when it comes to green marketing with 23 percent of management surveyed investing ‘strong or very strong effort’ into PR activities, compared to only 10 percent in advertising,” Environmental Leader has reported.
GREEN PR Tip #1: Ask the PR firm to charge on performance not just effort
Look for a company that will “put some skin” in the game. Simply, pay for RESULTS and not just their time. Many PR firms or outsource marketing professionals ask for retainers or high hourly rates that do not necessarily guarantee results. There are however, some firms that are willing to dedicate their time and then only charge nominal fees when stories get picked up by local, regional, or national news organizations. Here is an example of the new eco-friendly PR services. GREEN Agility Marketing is one company that puts performance ahead of billing.
GREEN PR Tip #2: Tell the news no matter how seemingly “small”
Small business owners are typically so busy doing the actual work of running their business that they often miss out on opportunities to “tell the story.” In most cases the individual stories do not generate short term sales like a productive client meeting or an effective advertisement, but the PR stories collectively build the foundation of “thought leadership.” These collective stories in effect lift the awareness of the company and put it “in play.”
What’s new in your business?
* Additions to an existing product or service line
* Product testing results or breakthroughs such as US patent approval
* Availability of new products for purchase by businesses or homeowners
* Mergers and strategic partnerships among businesses
* Hires of professionals that have a relevant background
* Certifications that a company or a staff member may have recently received
* Speaking engagements or white papers that impact an industry sector
* Case studies that prove out claims and inspire other prospective clients to act
GREEN PR Tip #3: Join the right organizations in your industry and in your region
Some organizations only cost a couple of hundred dollars a year to join and then you are often eligible for discounted rates on attending or sponsoring events. The great value typically comes in the networking so the more you participate the more you benefit. Success in the green economy is about the “cross-pollination” and synergy because it is a team sport to change the planet. Consider having someone on your staff volunteer to participate on a committee, and you may find that you end up with a role on the Board over time.
Sample National Membership Organizations:
* Green Business Bureau: www.gbb.org
* Efficiency First: www.efficiencyfirst.org
* U.S. GREEN Building Council: www.usgbc.org
* B Corporation: www.Bcorporation.net
Plus look for the regional chapters when applicable because these have the most potential for events and networking. As an example, the U.S. GREEN Building Council has the Delaware Valley Green Building Council, serving as a local affiliate.
GREEN PR Tip #4: Get out in front of prospects in person through the right events
Go for the major annual trade shows if they are relevant but also look for the new generation of smaller and regional green events. Each major metro market across the U.S. offers monthly networking events through organizations like the Sustainable Business Network or a sector specific organization like the Green Building Council. Plus, look for innovative event series. As just one example, The ChicGreen living event has been initiated by Laurel Fairworth of Cachet Communications, and the event promotes companies that provide upscale “green” products and services that save energy and money as well as improve personal health and the health of the planet. Fairworth, a former television journalist and PR expert, has seen a shift from the larger events to more targeted networking.
“We have seen an overwhelming response because the large scale ‘expos’ at convention centers can be overwhelming and too impersonal. By picking a location like the famous Wanamaker Building and sizing the event so that green companies can actually interact with prospective clients, it evolves beyond the hard ‘selling’ of the traditional booth experience,” Fairworth says.
GREEN PR Tip #5: Stay true
The new frontier of the green economy is layered with “greenwashing” by companies that want to take advantage of the mass market popularity. Become part of the SOLUTION and not the PROBLEM. Tell the truth, back it up and do your research in any press releases, especially when it comes to making claims about energy efficiency, health, or CO2 reduction.
Stick with it! All good things come to those who wait. This is a transformative time in U.S. history, so collectively business owners and entrepreneurs can make money as well as make a positive impact on the planet for generations to come.