8 Tips for Adding Public Relations to Your Marketing Mix
by Caron_Beesley, Community Moderator
- Created: March 8, 2012, 7:44 am
- Updated: April 30, 2012, 6:59 pm
Do you engage in public relations to market your business?
Public relations, or PR, isn’t just for large companies or something for times of crisis. A well-planned public relations strategy can reap the following benefits:
- It can extend word of mouth news about your business beyond the reach of any advertisement, flyer, postcard or email, and help you reach new markets.
- It reaches both influencers (journalists and bloggers) and those they influence (your customers), giving credibility to your business.
However, PR is more than just press releases, spin and schmooze; it takes time and investment to get it right. Here are some tips for promoting your business through public relations.
1. Have a Business Pitch
The first part of having a story to tell about your business is defining who you are and how you’re different in a few sentences. Think of it as your elevator pitch. To help you craft your message, follow the steps in this article: Why Your Business Needs an Elevator Pitch (and Tips on How to Target it to your Audience).
2. Have a Plan to Connect PR to Your Business Goals
What can PR do for you? Whether you are opening a business, reaching a business milestone, launching a new product line, or have an incredible success story to share, PR can help deliver your message to people you want to reach. But you’ll need a plan. As you review your annual or quarterly business goals, consider how PR can play a part. For example, if you’re launching a new product, consider using PR to encourage journalists and bloggers to review your offering. How about gaining publicity for your business by becoming an expert in your field? If you’re looking to attract new talent, PR can help you showcase your business as a great place to work.
3. Who Are You Trying to Reach?
What is the best media outlet for your business? What are the best events for showcasing your business? Refer back to your marketing plan and your target market. What are their demographics, their lifestyle choices, their business needs? Identifying your target market will help you understand the best media outlets for reaching them.
4. Identify Media Targets and Influencers
You probably know your market quite well. Use this knowledge to identify a list of publications, blogs, radio stations, and even journalists who are knowledgeable in your field or who can connect you with your audience. Most local newspapers or industry publications have editors or writers who cover specific industries and these contacts are listed online or in print. If you can’t find a contact, ask around; use your network or local business group for tips on what’s worked for them.
Pitching to bloggers is another great way to get publicity. Small business expert Rieva Lesonsky explains how to do this in her article How to get Bloggers to Write about your Business.
5. Be Newsworthy
A story will resonate best if it’s newsworthy, relevant and actionable. Try to come up with story angles that relate to something topical and gain publicity by association. For example, if you’re launching a new product line that’s tied to something current – a new trend, a health concern, or technological advancement – be sure to make that connection. Give people a reason to want to talk about your business.
6. Making the Pitch – The Art of the Press Release
Getting people to pick up on your story can seem like an impossible task. But you don’t need a PR agency to help you craft a meaningful press release. These tips can help:
- Start by determining your tone and content. It should reflect your business identity but also the profile of your target media list, i.e. what they write about.
- Consider hiring a copywriter if this is your first time. If you offer proper guidance, press release writing fees are minimal.
- Don’t embellish. You want to help the reporter quickly determine the newsworthiness and value of your story and its relevance to his or her publication.
- Use formatting to clearly tell your story. Stick to one page, use double-spacing, and include an eye-catching but informative headline. You can find examples of press releases online.
- Review, review, review. Ask someone else to review the headline and the content. Is it compelling? Does it align with your goals? And double check for typos.
- Submit your release over a PR wire service. If you are focusing on local news outlets, consider emailing them the release directly with an accompanying note. There are lots of wire services out there and they range drastically in cost. For most small businesses, submitting your release over a local (versus national) wire will suit you just fine and save you money.
Once you’ve sent your press release, follow up and respond immediately if you get an inquiry.
8. Be Persistent
PR takes time. Follow the tips above and refine your plan continuously. If your story is good and your releases are well written, something will eventually stick!
PR is also so much more than a press release, for more tips, read these blogs:
- 10 Tips for Getting Publicity for your Business
- How to get Interviewed on TV or Radio
- Boost your Business's Profile with Public Speaking
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General small business tips and tricks.