P.R. 101 for business owners and entrepreneurs

Most business owners and entrepreneurs already know that there are many pieces that work together to make a successful brand. Every piece needs to do their own part in order to create a quality brand and enough attention. Budget can be a scary factor for first time business owners and entrepreneurs, especially in advertising and gaining exposure. That is where PR can step in as a balanced alternative to advertising. Where advertising gets you seen, public relations is there to help you earn the trust of your audience.

Not everyone will have a huge budget for advertising and public relations to start, but it is definitely something to consider when creating your business budget. Whether doing it for yourself or for someone else, there are a few things you need do in order to create a strong public relations strategy.

  1. Know Who You’re Talking To — Before you start talking to your audience, whether the media or your consumers, you need to have a clear understanding of who they are. Take the time at the very beginning to go back and do some thorough market research. You should be able to clearly identify who you are targeting. When you have a clear understanding of your audience, you can easily recognize the media outlets and organizations that you can reach out to in your public relations campaign.
  2. Identify Your Solution To The Problem — People are increasingly becoming interested in things that make life, and all of its intricacies, easier for them. Your brand should offer, or more frankly be, the solution to a problem. This will help your brand identify its clear value in the market. It will also help you create a more direct message to your customer audience.
  3. Point Out Your Greatest Qualities — You should be able to shoot out a list of the things that make your brand unique and/or better than the competition. There is a lot of noise out there, and the media is trying to sift through all of that noise every day. In order to create an effective PR plan that cuts through the noise, you should have all of your best qualities tucked away and ready to be used at a moments notice.
  4. Work On Your Pitch — This is where you start to sell. You should be able to give ’em the good stuff in the first few sentences. Get straight to the point. Let them know who you are, what you do, and why it matters at the very beginning. Use this for the context of your written press release and email pitches. Add a strong headline for your print/digital release that will capture the reader.
  5. Make Them Visualize It — Once you’ve got all the words out of the way, its time to put together the eye catching part of you brand. Make sure you attach a high-quality photo along with your press releases. If you have a brief, but engaging and effective, video clip then you can include that as well. Media journalists like to have stuff that they can use for their story readily available.
  6. Keep Tabs and Follow Up — Make sure you keep running tabs on everyone you’ve pitched. Make an effort to follow up with them. However, it is important to keep in mind that there is a right and a wrong way of going about this. You don’t want to come off as pushy, but it’s important to you and everyone gets that. Remember that if the story is valuable enough, it will sell itself. You’re only part is to follow up with contact and be available to provide additional information if needed. If your press release was overlooked, this might be the slight nudge to get it looked at one more time.
  7. If You Get Picked Up, Give Back — After your story has been picked up, whether it be a major publication or a local blogger, make sure to show appreciation. It is as simple as a RT or repost with an @ the journalist and outlet.

There is definitely no secret formula for getting publicity and placement in the media, but there are best practices that can be applied to increase your chances for success. The good news is that you can’t go wrong by following those simple steps! Give it a shot and watch your brand grow.

Written by 

Jessica Rafaeil is a P.R. and Branding Specialist that loves working with young artists, entertainers and entrepreneurs.

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