Katie Olver of Momentous PR gets down to the nitty-gritty of PR and tells us what new businesses can actually do to get themselves noticed.
As a new business, attracting customers who will buy your product or service is paramount. There are many different ways that you can go about this, but if you have the time to invest in applying your own publicity-getting skills, PR will return some excellent results for your business – at very little cost.
Public relations, or PR, is literally, the relationship your business has with its public. The relationship you create with your public will have a profound effect on the future of your business, and this is where PR comes into play.
PR is how you publicise and build enthusiasm for your business among your public, and in successfully doing so, creating widespread awareness and driving sales.
Here are some simple steps for you to use to create a buzz for your new business:
1. Make sure your product or service is ready.
This is your immediate priority before you even start to think about PR. You need to make sure your product is ready for public consumption – get it out, make sure it works and does something that people care about.
As PR drives customer demand, if the product is not available to buy when the coverage appears, you’ll be missing out on sales, or even worse, driving customers to your competitors!
2. Know your market.
Successful PR is all about reaching the right audience with a message that is appropriate and meaningful to them. If you fail to know your target audience and the publications that they read, implementing the rest of your PR actions will be virtually useless.
There is no point aiming to get into the Financial Times when your customers are more likely to read The Sun.
3. Learn about the media outlet before you contact them.
In defining your target audience, you will also know what they read, what radio programmes they listen to, what TV programmes they watch and what websites they visit.
Take your time to educate yourself about the media outlets you are targeting. You need to get an idea of the type of story you need to present to optimise your chance of coverage.
4. Your message.
The centre of your PR campaign is your message. Make sure it's clear, concise and brief. If your message can't be summed up in a few sentences, it's too complicated and editors won't read it.
You also need to focus the materials you send to help the editors or producers. This means anticipating and answering their questions, labeling photographs and explaining why your story is worthy of coverage.
5. Getting media coverage.
Getting newspaper coverage or a mention of your new product or service can go a long way towards creating a buzz. Target both the local and national press as well as your industry’s trade publications. Often, the coverage you get in a trade publication will create the biggest buzz, as its read by all of your competitors and investors.
The best way to get media coverage, is to gauge the types of stories that are hot—current events, breaking news, the latest scandals—and tie your business in with them.
Every journalist is looking for a different spin on the story of the day. If you can think of a way to present the story with a fresh angle, even consider using a human interest link, and associate it with your business or product, you’ll be watching the coverage come in!
6. Develop a relationship with and use the local media.
Your relationship with journalists is very important and is the basis of your interaction with the media. These relationships take time to develop, and this time should be viewed as a long-term investment.
If you have not yet established a relationship with the local press, read the local publications and get the names of the journalists who cover your specific topic. Check out the online version of the publication and search for articles by those journalists.
Give them a call and introduce yourself. Journalists are constantly looking for news and this is a great way to start a relationship with them.
When your business gets a significant new customer, moves from your home to a real office, wins a community award or takes on a new employee, don't hesitate to call an appropriate journalist. You may not always get coverage, but you have nothing to lose by cultivating these relationships.
7. Write a feature article.
Write an article for your local newspaper or trade publication on a subject that relates to you or your business. If the article is well written and is specifically targeted to the readers of that publication, it could bring you the publicity you seek.
8. Start a Blog.
A blog, similar to an online diary, is a great way for you to position your business in the eyes of your customers, your industry and the press. It can demonstrate that you are a leading authority in the industry and allows you to engage with your customers and potential partners.
Furthermore, businesses who actively use blogs as part of their marketing program have discovered that blogs bring in more visitors to your website and that a high percentage of those who visit a blog, if properly influenced through that blog’s content, will actually buy from their business.
9. Public Speaking.
Give talks or teach classes about your profession or business to local groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, or at industry trade shows, roundtables and conferences.
Persistence is the single most important factor when it comes to making your PR campaign a success. If you have a good plan, and devote enough time and energy to carrying out that plan, you will obtain a great deal of positive publicity for your business - at very little cost.
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