PR is all about managing the reputation of your business and to do this, an external agency will need to spend time understanding the key features and benefits of your products or services, and work with you to decide where to position the brand in the media.
As the owner and likely founder of a business, you already know everything about what you offer and will be able to speak or write passionately about it from the very start. You can identify the angle, and you know what’s new and what has a story that will catch the eye of a journalist, but what comes next?
See also: What is PR?
Make sure you’re talking to the right people
Make a list of relevant target publications, ensuring you read through them first to understand their editorial tone and the kind of products or services they write about. It is tempting to aim high and try to target high profile or national press, but if your product or service isn’t the right fit then it can be a waste of both your time and theirs sending information over to them. Equally, if you do have something to shout about that you can just imagine the Sunday Times covering, then go for it.
Taking the time to read magazines, blogs, newspapers and websites that you want to approach will also give you an opportunity to make a note of the journalists and writers who put together different areas of the publication, for example the events diary or shopping pages, so that you can liaise with the right person for your press release.
Make sure your approach is professional
If you can, ask someone else to proof-read your press releases before you send them out. Everyone finds it hard to spot their own mistakes and an extra pair of eyes to look over grammar and punctuation is never a wasted effort. I would advise taking another look at your website and social media channels as well, to ensure they are conveying the same message and tone as your press release and to pick up on any small copy errors – and if you are offering something to a journalist as an exclusive, make sure it’s not mentioned on your Facebook page.
Prepare a press pack in advance with clear medium-resolution images to send out with the press release and your logo (if appropriate), then make sure you have any other information and high-resolution versions of images ready to send over at a moment’s notice.
Build relationships with key publications
It’s important to build a good relationship with journalists, they are more likely to pay attention to what you tell them and might just ask you for professional comment or to contribute to articles in the future, so send personalised emails to each individual editor/journalist, not a mass email blast with them blind copied in.
Do not, under any circumstances, send a mass email with all publications copied in so that all the writers and journalists can see who else you are trying to catch the attention of.
If you have enough time, you may want to tailor your press release for different publications to make it as appealing and newsworthy as possible.
If you can nail all the above, sending out timely and newsworthy information accompanied by professional images to relevant publications and respond quickly to requests for more information, you’ll be well on your way to a very successful DIY PR campaign.
Tara is our traditional marketing and PR partner so keep checking back here for more.