We all know that good press is oftentimes a key to success, and this article is going to be a guide to the true inside tips for professionals to maximize their PR efforts.
1. Know Your Audiences
Sparktoro is a great tool to give you an understanding of what your target audience engages with, reads, listens to, watches, and follows, which gives you incredible insight on how to market your product to the media. The media needs to produce content that the people want to read, and by gathering data from the people the media serve, you’ll be able to create an eye catching pitch to spark interest from press, podcasts, blogs, and influencers alike.
2. Understand The WIFM Factor
By understanding what Public Relations can do for you, you’ll go into your campaigns with the proper expectations. Unlike marketing and advertising, where you’re the one telling the public your brand is great, Public Relations gets other people (including top-tier media) to say to the people you’re brand is great! With that in mind, you won’t always have a measurable ROI because PR’s nature is to educate and elevate brand awareness, but what you have is a broader net to market to and close more deals that will lead to ROI in the long run.
3. Organization Matters
Without an organized and strategic approach, you’ll find there are more than a few ways to drop the ball in public relations. Having a keen eye for detail, tracking, and following up is essential to gaining a positive reputation. With public relations, your reputation starts with the media then trickles down to the public. By showing that you’re on top of everything from emails to shipment tracking and getting product samples to requesters promptly, you’ll give the media another reason to showcase your company.
4. Personalized Pitches
We’re all human beings, no matter what jobs we hold, and we enjoy hearing when we’ve done something well. Journalists put their heart and soul into their stories, and it’s nice to research and pay compliments to past pieces in your pitches. It’s also nice to ask them how they’re doing and genuinely mean it. Public Relations is all about relationships. The more human you are, the better relationships you’ll have with people. You’ll probably make a few genuine friends along the way while securing features for your brand!
5. Data Is King
The more you know about your consumer, the more you’ll know what media to target to reach the right audience. Additionally, learning information about the media you’re pitching is also crucial. It’s important to know what beat the journalist you’re pitching is covering so you don’t waste their time. It comes across that you didn’t correctly do your job when you pitch the wrong person, and it can tarnish the relationship with that media outlet.
(Curate your research)
6. Research Your Competition
(Where’s Their Coverage?)
It’s always good to keep tabs on your competition so you can measure success, find new ways to grow, and see how you can utilize the information to help your business.
7. Start With Clearly Defined Goals and KPIs
It’s important to know what your goals are going into a campaign. While you might not always see direct ROI with Public Relations campaigns, there are many KPIs that you can track to see how your campaign is doing to meet your goals. By clearly defining KPIs, you’ll create strategies and campaigns to help get your business the results you want.
8. Work With Your SEO Team
Many times it’s a good idea to curate an article in-house and pitch it to the media. If the article is quality, it’s good and easy to publish and a great starting point for journalists to create their own piece. By doing this, your SEO team can work with you on placing keywords in your article to help the piece and your brand rank higher on the internet. The easier it is for people to find the feature, the more traffic will be drawn to your campaign leading to getting the results you want.
Check out our article on the benefits of PR and SEO working together.
9. Leverage Your Influencer Marketing Campaigns
Influencer Marketing Campaigns are a great way to boost your Public Relations efforts. Influencers do just as their name suggests; influence their followers. By creating campaigns with them, you can cast a wide net for potential customers.
10. Collaborate With Your Paid Media Team To Amplify Coverage
If you know a feature will run, it’s wise to run paid media ads in conjunction with it to help spread the reach. Additionally, if you secure great media coverage, it will make a great ad to show what a reputable brand you are being featured by a notable publication. Once you have coverage secured, your marketing team can utilize it to make their campaigns stronger.
“Help A Reporter Out” is a simple email subscription that’s a free way to see what the media is looking to cover. Journalists will put a paragraph description of what they need for a story, and you can submit your brand for consideration. Simply go to HARO to sign up to receive daily emails.
12. Utilize Google Alerts
Set up Google Alerts to track any mentions of your brand on the internet. By doing this, you’ll be able to get email notifications if your brand, product, or people are in any features. This is a good strategy for reputation management and an excellent way to stay on top of positive and negative press.
13. Avoid Embargoes When Possible
Journalists hate embargoes, which is when a PR releases news and information under the condition that it can’t be shared until a certain date. No one likes being asked to cover a story, but only on the brand’s timeline. Embargoes effectively ask the journalist to reposition their calendar around your brand’s. Before including an embargo, ask yourself if it’s really a big deal if the story makes it to press a few days early. Most of the time, it isn’t.
14. Report Regularly
Having reports done monthly will help measure your KPIs and see how your campaigns are doing to reach your business’s goals. Evaluating areas that need improvement will help with creative thinking and strategy development. The more information you have on hand to make decisions, the better.
15. Leverage Gamification
By this we mean take a strategy that already exists, and motivate your audience by using “gaming techniques” to ensure long term engagement and participation. The more alluring and enticing your campaign is, the more people you can get on board to make it a success.
16. Use The Wire
The PR Wire is a simple way to get your brand coverage. By posting your press release on the wire, the media can pick it up and put it on their sites. This won’t be a collaborative story featuring your brand, but it will be press nonetheless.
17. Make It As Easy As Possible For The Journalist
(Send Word Docs, Not Pdfs)
Journalists enjoy working with people who work to make their lives easier. Most journalists have a wide variety of stories on their plate at one time, so the easier you make it on them, the more likely they will want to work with you. Instead of sending PDFs and Word Documents, and attachments in emails, send them a Dropbox link. You don’t want your email to clog up their server because sometimes it’s easier to delete and move on than work to make the space. Additionally, sending a Word Document instead of a PDF is very important. With Word Documents or Google Docs being workable platforms, journalists can efficiently work in the document and pull what they need for their feature.
18. Host Events
Events are a great way to get attention to your brand from both the media and the public. Events are a newsworthy pitch in themselves, and an event is a great way to showcase what sets your company or product apart while giving people a chance to interact with your brand.
19. Put Together A Great Press Kit
(Don’t Be Stingy!)
Having a fully stocked and professional press kit not only makes your brand look professional but it helps give the media the critical information that they need about your brand. Having it available on your website is a good idea for those who happen to stumble on across your brand.
20. Build A Digital Newsroom On Your Website
(Do Not Password-protect It)
Show off the features you’ve procured and let people see who is talking about you. By having reputable coverage posted to your website and social media, the public will see you as trustworthy. Today’s business landscape is all about trust, and by linking the positive press you get to your channels, you’ll be giving people more reasons to be your customer.
21. Tie In A Meaningful Charity Angle
If possible, having a giveback element is always a good idea. The world needs more kindness, and the media like to cover it. By adding a charitable angle, you’re helping more than just yourself and giving yourself potentially great exposure.
22. Write A Great Press Release
(Win Them Over In First 7 Seconds)
Having a great pitch is the most important thing you can do for yourself. You need to be able to captivate the media first with an intriguing subject line so they’ll open your pitch. Next, you need to have an informative and catchy pitch that’s newsworthy. If it’s not interesting, they may not even bother to write back.
23. Be Prepared For Live Interviews
Media training is something that I recommend to everyone that wants to speak on behalf of their brand if you don’t want to hire a brand spokesperson. Often, interviews are live, and you need to stay quick on your feet and articulate yourself well. Your media opportunity is potentially the one chance you have to elevate your brand, so you want to make sure you’re doing it correctly. Live interviews aren’t something you want to wing. Preparation will help you to navigate anything that doesn’t go as planned, because more often than not, something will happen that could throw you off and lead to a bad interview. You can never be over-prepared!
24. Have A Crisis Management Plan
(Everyone Has A Plan Until They Get Punched In The Mouth)
Having a crisis management plan and/or team in place and on hand is crucial. The best way to handle a crisis is by being prepared. Knowing the brand voice, the brand’s position and mission statement will help create a base to formulate crisis responses. Knee-jerk responses don’t do anyone any good. Having a well-thought-out plan in case of a crisis, so while things are smooth sailing, prepare for rough waters.
25. Have A Great Zoom Interview Setup
(And Background, Lighting Etc)
When you’re unable to be in-studio for an interview or living in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, it’s essential to set yourself up for an excellent Zoom interview. Set up your camera beforehand so you can establish the most admirable background. Additionally, setting up your camera at the same time the day before your interview will allow you to see what the light will look like at the time of your Zoom appearance. Make sure you’re in a well-lit space that’s not backlit. Don’t underestimate the power of a ring light! You don’t need an expensive one to make you look your best. If you plan on using your phone for the interview, ask if they want your phone horizontal or vertical. It’s also vital to test your audio before your interview to make sure you come across clearly.
26. Hire A Pr Agency
This is the best tip in this entire article. Public Relations is an art that Publicists have mastered. Some people boast about getting featured in the media without a publicist. Please do not buy into it. Publicists work around the clock to create relationships, create unique and newsworthy pitches, track and monitor your success, follow up with the media, craft and pitch your brand in ways they know the press will find intriguing, and so much more. Publicists are brand doctors. Don’t leave your brand in the hands of someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, or you’ll need to visit your crisis communication plan much more frequently. Public Relations is incredibly time-consuming when done correctly. Leave it to the professionals.
27. Capitalize On Personal Interest Stories
Everyone loves a story when they can connect with it. If you can make your story have a personal interest, you’ll create brand loyalty. If you can get on your customer’s level and be part of what interests them, you’ve generated revenue and a lifelong customer.
28. Show Proof Of Concept
If you’re pitching a new concept or product, make sure to show that it works, not just how it could work. It’s important to include testimonials or case studies when possible, and product samples are always a great idea- just make sure to send the best version of your products as possible, which means pristine packaging, easy to understand instructions, and quality assurance by someone other than your warehouse staff before sending. For other angles where a claim is being made, be sure to include data to substantiate your claims.
29. Offer Exclusives For Priority Coverage
If you have something incredibly newsworthy, you can often pitch an outlet and give them a priority for coverage. This ensures an edge over their competition and can be mutually beneficial.
30. Pursue Podcasts
Podcasts are a great way to get into a conversation about your brand with people in your target demographic. There are so many various podcasts that cater to your company or product that would offer great coverage and improve your public relations strategy.
31. Set Up Google News Alerts For Speaking Opportunities And Coverage
In addition to having Google Alerts track your brand, you should set up specific alerts to help you find speaking opportunities or partnerships with like-minded media outlets and brands. Let Google do the research for you!
32. Build Relationships With Journalists Covering Your Beat
One way to start a relationship with a journalist is to follow them on their social media channels. They’ll notice who is engaging with them and building a relationship instead of just trying to get something out of them. Relationships are the key ingredient to a good campaign.
33. Set Aside A Reasonable Budget For Your Goals
Having a budget in place will help keep your costs in line while also allowing you to reach your goals strategically. Sending “free” samples can cost your company more money than expected, and aligning marketing campaigns with PR efforts cost money. Have a budget in place because you won’t always see ROI from your Public Relations campaigns, so be strategic in where you put your money.
34. Always Be Honest.
If a journalist doesn’t trust you or your brand enough to cover you, it becomes even more difficult to build trust with your target audience. Being candid and transparent, even when you don’t have great news to share, and owning mistakes when they’re made is a great way to build credibility for future endeavors.
35. Provide Video And Photo Resources On-demand
Create a database of photos and videos that you can send to the media or your publicist when they need it. Product photos, lifestyle photos, and demonstration videos are some of the essentials to have in your Dropbox for the media to insert in their feature. You don’t want to waste time getting photos taken because journalists are often on deadlines and can have surprisingly quick turnarounds. You don’t want to get in the way of your PR efforts by not being prepared.
36. Designate A Spokesperson
Designate a single person from your company or hire someone to be a brand spokesperson. It is essential to have clear messaging and consistency, so designating a spokesperson will help with brand identity.
37. Well-planned Publicity Stunts Work
While it’s not the only way to get press, a well-thought-out and legal, planned publicity stunt can give your brand the “wow” factor that many find newsworthy. Having a thoughtfully designed stunt can provide your brand an edge over the competition while providing a fun story for the media.