PR is all about businesses delivering messages to their audience through different forms of media, and for small and medium business this normally means sharing new products and services, as well as offers, key successes and opinion pieces.

In this blog, I’ve collated my five top tips on what I find works best for PR campaigns, to help rural businesses reach as wide an audience as possible, whilst keeping an eye on the time and cost of carrying out specific PR campaigns.

See also: How to plan a PR strategy to make sure 2019 is your very best year yet

  1. Realism

I love it when people are really proud of their business and they want to share it with as many people as possible. In most cases they have invested a huge amount of emotion, time and financial commitment to get it off the ground and they have grand plans for the future, which PR can help deliver.

There’s nothing wrong with aiming for the stars, but sometimes a reality check is needed. Getting some amazing press coverage can catapult a business into the public eye, but it’s worth looking at publications you think you want to get features in and seeing if it really is a good fit. In addition, PR can be a very time-consuming project if you let your imagination run away with you, so a plan will help to keep you on track.

  1. Planning

Every successful PR campaign always starts with thorough planning. Of course that all sounds very simple, but you would be surprised how many people get carried away with the idea of all the lovely coverage their brilliant idea will get, and rush to get started having failed to plan anything at all.

See also: The importance of having an integrated marketing campaign

Think about where you would like to achieve coverage, how much constitutes success, and exactly what the message you want to share is. Are you hoping to launch a new range, be featured in Christmas gift guides or be positioned as a thought leader in your field? This will all help you target the right people and craft the right message.

  1. Preparation

Once you have a really clear idea of your message, you’ll need to write a press release. Make sure the headline is really clear and punchy, to grab the attention of a journalist and ensure they know exactly what your business is about, then follow the ‘5W and H’ rule when you write the main copy of the release – tick off the ‘who, what, why, where, when and how’, and you will cover everything important. Review your press contacts to ensure they are still up to date and gather information on any new journalists you wish to contact. Check you have high res versions of all the images you need and label them all so that a journalist can easily access them when needed.

  1. Accuracy

If you’re writing your own press release, make sure it has been checked over by someone else to ensure your message is clear and easy to understand. Yes, you know exactly what you do, but someone else coming in ‘cold’ might need a little more explanation.

If you aren’t confident writing a press release, then it may be worth hiring a copywriter to write it for you. Accuracy also applies when ensuring that the message in your press release is consistent with your website and social media feeds (or vice versa). Perhaps you are publicising a limited time offer (i.e. buy two chairs and get a matching side table, for two weeks only) but a quick look at your Facebook page reveals the offer runs all the time… in which case it’s not really news and you might irritate a journalist, so make sure all your messaging is aligned.

See also: Upsides of working with a PR

  1. Personalisation

This point actually covers two areas – firstly, if you are sending the same information to multiple journalists, I would highly recommend that you email each of them individually with a personalised header. Aside from big national news stories, not many journalists will want to cover a story or feature a product that lots of other publications are going to run with – think of them trying to get a ‘scoop.’ If you can offer them an exclusive or angle you might catch their attention more easily. National journalists sometimes receive 400 emails a day from PRs, so something actually addressing them by name might just catch their attention.

Examples of successful PR campaigns and coverage:

Everything Horse, Tracey Cole: this is a good example of people being proud and highlighting their skillset. If it's a unique angle, it should get good coverage.

Horse & Rider, this month we love feature: this sort of feature is great for new products. Knowing which magazines have this type of style feature is great for getting coverage as you're helping them do their job even more effectively

Tara is our traditional marketing and PR partner, keep checking back here for more like this.

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