Steve Strauss, USA Today: Small Business & PR [Podcast]

Steve Strauss, USA Today: Small Business & PR [Podcast]

Are you ready for Small Business Saturday? 

With Small Business Saturday on the horizon, we think it is a perfect time to rerun our interview with small business expert Steve Strauss.

Pardon the poor audio, it was only episode 30 and be sure to stay tuned (which means subscribe) as we are planning to interview Steve again soon (which will sound much better of course). This episode and blog post originally ran on April 19, 2018 and has been republished on November 20, 2019.

Two of My Favorite Things with Steve Strauss, USA TODAY & Inc.

Mr.AllBiz Delves into the Intersection of Small Business and PR

Luckily Steve Strauss had just gotten fired from his cushy job as a lawyer twenty years ago when USA TODAY came calling looking for a small business columnist. Apparently, the budding entrepreneur wasn’t the best employee and lacked writing ability. He’s gone on to write an impressive 17 books, including the best-selling Small Business Bible. But it’s the brand he’s built through penning a weekly small business Ask an Expert column for USA TODAY that he credits for his success.

After getting the corporate boot, Steve started his own law practice, eventually carving out an interesting niche between three disciplines: law, small business and writing. He has since left the law behind to focus on regular columns for USA TODAY, Huff Po. and Inc. — check out this recent piece for Inc.: “Why Most PR Pitches Stand Out (and How to Make Yours Stand Out).”

You’re wrong if you think Steve couldn’t get any busier. More can be found about how he serves as the small business spokesperson for companies like Bank of America and Verizon on Mr.AllBiz. His team creates written and visual content focusing on the small business community underneath The Strauss Group. And to top it off, Steve’s Web portal, The SelfEmployed, pays special attention not just to entrepreneurs seeking world domination, but also to freelancers and the gig economy, aka the “side hustle.”

Steve’s work could serve as a resource for employed marketers looking to dip their toes into the small business pool through freelancing or side hustling. Most interestingly, we both shared personal stories of how we journeyed into the abyss of the self-employed. Steve’s firing could have been viewed as a failure but instead it led to a much broader, but different, type of success than he ever expected. And although I didn’t know it at the time, saying yes to volunteer work was the beginning of Veracity.


This episode of PR Talk covers:

  • How to get in Steve’s USA TODAY column, or the other three notable columns he writes on a monthly basis, and other general PR tips and pet peeves.
  • How and why small businesses should embrace PR.
  • How marketers can start their own companies through freelancing and picking up “side hustles” first.
  • The differences between small marketing shops and large firms.

About the guest: Steve Strauss

Steve Strauss is often called “the country’s leading small business expert.” A best-selling author, and USA TODAY small business columnist, Steve is a global speaker, corporate spokesperson, entrepreneur, and author of 17 books including the best-selling Small Business Bible.

Connect and follow Steve on social media:

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

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How to Choose the Right Communication Channels for Your Communications Campaign

How to Choose the Right Communication Channels for Your Communications Campaign

With so many communications channels to choose from, it’s easy to see how some businesses might get overwhelmed.

According to a recent survey by The Manifest, 64% of small businesses use two or more channels when relaying messages to consumers.

By choosing a combination of channels, businesses can ensure their messages are being received by the widest possible audience.

Although it might be tempting to use as many communications channels as are available, businesses would benefit from a more deliberate and mindful approach.


Know Your Audience

One of the first steps of planning a successful communications campaign is knowing exactly who the campaign is for.

Ask yourself:

  • How old is the target audience?
  • What are their communication habits?
  • What types of messages do they respond best to?

For example, if your target audience is younger, social media might be the best way to reach them.

Businesses should also consider whether the target audience is current customers or people they’re trying to convert into customers.

“Current customers are going to listen to that message quite differently than folks who don’t know who you are or haven’t had any sort of relationship with you,” said Mike Rosenberg, CEO of Veracity, one of the top PR agencies in Portland, Ore.


Consider Your Message

 The next step to planning an effective communications campaign is to consider the message you want to share.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you sharing information about a new product or service?
  • Do you want to share company news?
  • Is the purpose of your message to inform or incite a specific action?

Businesses should always consider the nature of their message before determining which communication channel would be the best fit.


Think About What Kind of Return You Want to Gain

After you’ve considered your audience and the type of message you’ll be sharing, you also need to consider the type of return you want to gain from your communication efforts.

Ask yourself:

  • What is the goal with communication to customers?
  • What action do we want them to take?
  • Do we want them to buy something?
  • Do we want them to start a conversation around our brand?
  • Is this more a matter of customer service?
  • How will we track our returns?

For example, if you want to jumpstart buzz around your brand or a new product, social media might be the best channel. If you want to offer customers exclusive news or discounts, email or direct mail might be best.

Whatever your intended return is, make sure it is trackable so that you can measure the success of your campaign to prepare for future campaigns.


Business-Consumer Communications Requires a Well-Thought Out Plan

While businesses should use multiple platforms to emphasize their messages, they should do so in a deliberate way. By considering their audience, message, and the return they want to gain, businesses can create a communications campaign that strengthens their public relations, marketing, and reputation management strategies.

Featured image from Ethan Hoover