I’ll be honest. Once upon a time, I couldn’t think of anything worse than pursuing a career in public relations (PR). In time though, I’ve seen more and more people asking me about the PR profession. A couple of years ago, I put aside my misconceptions regarding the space and made a very deliberate decision to get good at PR. It’s been a while now since I made that decision and I’m hoping what I share here helps you on your journey, whether that sees you doing your own PR or outsourcing it to a third party.
First-up, let’s get real: almost every business and every business owner want PR. Even more so if you’re a startup, as it’s a free way to spread the word about what you do. In my experience, not every business and business owner takes the time to really assess what their goals are and how they’re going to generate the kind of positive PR they’re hoping for. What I’m talking about here, of course, is a strategy. It’s important to consider what your goals are and why you’re entering the PR profession before you even think about sending out a press release. Once you’ve got a plan, here are my top 3 tips to know and act on when it comes to PR.
1. Set achievable PR goals.
I’m highly ambitious so I know what it’s like when you set out to challenge yourself. But when it comes to PR, it’s best to set realistic goals. While it is possible that you send out one email pitch or one media release and end up on commercial TV, it’s unlikely. Ask yourself if what you’re putting out there is actually media-worthy and if it has a strong news hook. If you’re working with a third party (a consultant or an agency), it’s best to have an honest conversation about your expectations before work commences so that they’re in the loop as to what results you’re expecting. It’s better to have a conversation right at the very beginning as opposed to an awkward one down the track.
2. Think outside the box.
The rise of the internet means that you don’t have to rely on traditional forms of media to generate good traction and audience engagement. Think about how you can use what you have at your fingertips, like your social media channels, to contribute towards your goals. I’m not just talking about posting content once a day — develop a promotional strategy that taps into channels like social media. Experiment and monitor what works and what doesn’t so that you can adapt your approach. A lot of journalists are big on using Twitter and I’ve seen many instances where media hear and pick up a story from Facebook.
3. PR is a long-term game.
In my books, PR, as a profession, is all about consistency. Build relationships with journalists, bloggers, and/or writers in your space whom you want for them to know what you’re doing and your brand. It can be a frustrating game to play, but when you focus on building meaningful relationships, it’s likely to be a much more fruitful exercise in the longer term. Research the journalists who write about your industry, connect with them, make sure you’re on their radar and keep in touch with them. Ideally, you want to get to a stage where when the news is breaking in your industry, journalists are picking up the phone to call you for comment. This does happen but as with all good things, it takes time.
My biggest piece of PR advice is: don’t give up and don’t underestimate the power of your local network and local media. If you’re adopting a DIY approach, you’ll learn as you go. If you plan to outsource your PR, I advise you to do your homework beforehand. You don’t want to wind up feeling as though you’ve wasted resource on PR. Remember, knowledge is power!
DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation in writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.
(Featured Photo by Official LeWeb Photos via Flickr. CC BY 2.0)
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