Our marketing mix takes many forms at different times in the life of our business – the whole online platform is massive and will remain in our mix.
But when we look at the offline world – where the opportunities are not so easy to spot and capitalise on, Public Relations always comes out on top as the ‘must have’ in the marketing mix but so many people struggle with the story, where, how and what to do with it?
So, we built a checklist to help with the thought process as well as actions that can be completed in your endeavours to getting PR together, printed/online and capitalised on. It’s not a quick job by any means; and another reason why many don’t include it in their marketing mix very often. It requires some research, planning and developing to get the right information to the right person at the right time.
There is help out there – many PR agencies, new companies setting up all the time but be warned the PR market is vast with specialism coming into play too. Getting the right help is sometimes half the battle to getting exposure. Ellan from Sixty7 PR is one such individual, as is Colette from Chew PR – both have their specialist areas but can also help a variety of companies to get noticed. I’d encourage you to seek them out if you’d like to be successful and your business.
Meanwhile, here’s a checklist to help you with your preparation work, for having the right contacts and details that will help you to promote your business.
Identifying your audience and who you are trying to attract and influence – is it customers, the local community or even potential employees and franchisees. This goes hand in hand with the objectives of your strategy, increasing awareness of your business, building your reputation locally or national.
When it comes to planning your PR you need to consider timescales, you don’t want to miss the boat by talking about something too far in advance or too far down the line. Selecting someone to be responsible for identifying opportunities, writing the piece, contacting the piece out is so important to ensure it happens. On the other hand is there a Media Policy (especially if you are going into this big or there may be adverse issues that press enquiries would need to be handled in a certain way. Are you going to use an Agency who may have contacts already in national media or are you going to do all the leg work yourselves and stick to local media where you can build that relationship?
Identification of the media to be ‘courted’ is the first step, who will reach your audience and likely to give you opportunities – local press, radio, trade journals and perhaps, specialist websites. Once they’ve been selected it is clear you need to know the types of stories they cover, their style and perhaps their themes. Knowing when they publish and their deadlines is essential to get in for any particular issue/date. Building relationships with contacts will help your efforts to getting your pieces reproduced and this means you will need to plan a continuous flow of pieces over the months – it is by no means a quick fix. This however, will also help you to refine your pieces so that the publication can just publish rather than edit or reject.
Identifying opportunities for PR is key such as business successes, new staff, new products as well as creating them by running competitions, open days, celebrations which are all worthy PR pieces; is for everyone in the business to feed into. Perhaps looking at other opportunities such as guest articles, supporting local events and businesses, attending conferences or even speaker opportunities to talk about the work you do.
Reviewing the successful pieces produced, the platform/publication relationships and identifying the ones to repeat that have produced good publicity are key to creating more opportunities over time. Perhaps seeking out similar publications, widening your area and going national or changing your audience for a new line of PR opportunities.
Once a PR piece has been developed and delivered to your contact base it can be published on your website and equally shared on social media – doubly so if it is chosen to be published.
If you choose to go down this avenue of publicity good luck and I look forward to reading all about it.