How Public Relations Can Work for Your Business
Public Relations (PR) and paid media services can be an extremely effective and quick way to introduce your business to a large-scale audience, drive attendance to your events, your website, and retail spaces, as compared to traditional networking methods.
Effectively using PR for your business can also secure your position as a go-to expert in your respective field. Brand positioning and identity helps to create trust and a deeper understanding of your businesses’ benefits within your industry and local economy. It can also result in increased inbound inquiries and new leads.
OMEP partnered with Coates Kokes and The Martin Group to bring you creative tips and tricks for successful Public Relations. As your company builds its PR strategy, here are a few things these PR pros recommend.
Identify your message:
Is the message you are trying to convey specific to a geographic location? A specialized sector of your industry? Or is it in response to another recently covered piece/event? If so, utilize resources within those areas. Using local news outlets, publications, and industry-specific news sources (e.g., food, processing, metal forming & fabrication, beer magazines, etc.) will help ensure you’re speaking to the audience that is truly interested and receptive to what you have to say.
Develop your strategy:
Each unique type of message or event you are trying to broadcast will require a specific strategy. Previously we mentioned geographic or industry-specific news outlets. In those cases, do some research around what those specific outlets are. Identify your organization’s point of contact, know where your message fits within those outlets’ editorial calendars (are they seasonal?), and develop some high-quality content that can be shared to help assist the paper with the creation of compelling content. Share original thoughts and a fresh perspective to establish your organization as a thought leader.
Expect Challenges and Delays
More often than not, there will be a bump in the road while trying to gain coverage for the notable event or story happening at your organization. Reporters frequently have a large workload and are expected to cover a wide range of topics. Their limited time and resources can hinder their ability to provide coverage, so be sure that you are conveying the notoriety of what you are trying to share, and that you are prepared to respond promptly to any incoming requests.
Although your organization needs to be quick to avoid missing out on opportunities, one area that can be a challenge in PR is the long lead time that can be associated with running a story.
The message you are sharing should be evergreen. Your message could be competing with others from around the country, if it’s losing merit as time passes, that could be the factor that hinders its publication.
Keys to success:
Here are a few tips from OMEP’s own PR journey.
Make PR a priority.
If you keep putting it off, it will never happen. Take 15-20 minutes to get started. You may want to schedule a half-hour hold on your calendar a few times a month as a reminder to prioritize PR for your company. Be sure your organization is prepared to take time and talk with the media (either in person or over the phone). Be ready with desirable content or visuals. Media outlets are becoming more open to accepting and using, good photos and video contributed to them from events that they couldn’t attend.
Follow up regularly.
Freelancers who are not industry experts could be the ones put on your assignment. Extend help whenever you can, and be ready to answer follow-up questions.
Keep building your relationships.
If you like an article that was published by one of your local journalists, tell them. Even offer up another perspective that might have added to their story. Ask local reporters out to grab a coffee, and create a habit of regular chats with those key publications. Engage and connect with the reporters on social media. Share their stories on your social channels; even when they are not about you. Like, retweet, and share their content.
Have a media kit ready.
Start compiling materials and getting them in front of reporters to help facilitate introductions. Compile a fact sheet, a spokesperson sheet, a narrative of your organization, some localized data, high-resolution imagery, etc. Begin distributing that material to regional media targets. Stop keeping your business’ milestones a secret. Try using the “inbox less traveled.” While it can be a little more costly, traditional mail is less frequently used today. When it is used appropriately, direct mail can be extremely effective.
Maintain a good relationship with your PR firm.
If you work with a PR firm, make sure the relationship is successful by providing them with new and original data, visuals, and compelling story topics. Focus your efforts on areas that are ready to be shared now.
Remember these things take time. Depending on your specific industry sector, 6 months is not an unreasonable time frame for a story to be picked up.
Realize that your PR firm only has so much influence. Once they have pitched/coordinated interviews and shared the information with the news outlets they have little control over what happens next. As with most situations, patience is a virtue. Even if stories don’t come right away, outreach reporters are positioning you as a resource to reach out to later, a practice that can be beneficial over time.
Remember to utilize the tools at your disposal.
Whether you are working with a PR firm or going it on your own, there are a lot of resources available to help you develop and broaden your understanding. You can find a few of these resources below.
- Public Relations 101: Media Pitching –
- It’s not rocket science: PR for brand activation –
- Integrating Social Media with PR –
- PR Pros Must Embrace the PESO Model –