First of all congratulations, you have made a very wise decision to incorporate public relations into your marketing arsenal. Securing positive media coverage is a great way to take your business to the next level, whatever stage you’re at.
What is PR?
Don’t get public relations confused with the rest of the marketing mix. At the most basic level, PR is about story telling. It’s a way of generating media coverage across print, web or broadcast media outlets. The end goal is to speak to your customers and influence their thinking or behavior in some way.
Tip 1 – What is your story?
It’s important to work out what your story is before you start. This story is defined by; who you want to speak to, what they want to read about and where they are likely to read it. If you’re seeking investment for your business or trying to sell someone a designer watch these answers will be very different. Sit down and work out a plan of attack before you start out on your PR journey.
Tip 2 – Set realistic goals
It’s very easy to get sucked into the glamour of PR, particularly when you see your peers on broadcast and national news. But you have to be realistic about what you can achieve when you first start your PR activity. Also, how much time and money can you afford to invest?
If you’re planning on doing it yourself, it’s always good to start off by working with smaller news outlets or those that focus on your industry specifically. This will enable you to streamline your PR approach before you move onto bigger outlets.
Tip 3 – Share your knowledge
If you don’t have a specific business milestone or research story to offer, sharing your knowledge is a great way to get your PR machine started. Everyone has had a journey and their own personal story. Why not contribute articles to small business publications? This is a great way to inform others how to overcome the obstacles you’ve faced along the way.
Tip 4 – Don’t forget regional media outlets
Don’t forget your local media contacts, particularly if you’re based outside of London. A thriving business in the local community is a great local story and can really help you with recruitment. If you win awards or hit milestones, local journalists are more likely to report on it if you make them a part of your business journey from the start.
Tip 5 – ‘Newsjacking’
A great way to get your brand into national news on a shoe string is by jumping on big news stories. You can do this by offering journalists relevant and insightful opinions or data that add to the debate. If you can do this quickly, contact the journalist and see if they’ll feature a quote from you.
Tip 6 – Journalists are the key conduit to your customers
PR is a slow burn. Whilst you want to use the coverage generated from your PR activity to change the behavior of your customers, first of all you need to convince the media you’re worth writing about.
Journalists are humans, they appreciate people that are reliable, helpful and inform them of great stories. Simply trying to force journalists to comply with your agenda is not going to win their hearts.
Treat journalists as VIPs – three golden rules
- Make sure all the information you provide is 100% accurate and reliable
- Build mutual trust with your media contacts
- Most importantly, be available at short notice and make sure you always go the extra mile.
Tip 7 – DIY PR or get the experts in?
Not every business can afford to recruit a full time in-house PR person. If you have some budget to invest, using a boutique PR agency or independent consultant could be a more cost effective solution.
When you’re selecting a PR consultant or agency, make sure you see case studies of relevant clients before you sign on the dotted line, sourcing the right person for your individual business needs is crucial. However, if you really don’t have any spare cash, some PR activity is better than none. Why not lay some foundations yourself and get your brand our there.
If you would like a free consultation to discuss public relations activity for your business, please get in touch with PR by NorthStar.