Public Relations is one of the most important things you can focus on in your business. The good part about PR is that, as I said in my last article, it does not necessarily require the services of a PR agent or firm; you can do it yourself and even train others to do it for you. All that is required is a little understanding of what you are hoping to achieve in your Public Relations efforts, some time to devote to your PR strategies, and the right state-of-mind to recognize vital opportunities.
Why are you trying to improve your Public Relations? Simple, you want to grow your business. Some ways that you can do this are as follows:
• Attracting partners, affiliates, and investors.
• By attracting new customers through communicating your services, your values, and your vision.
• By introducing current clients to other services and expanding their brand awareness.
Growth comes from personable communication and strategic management of your time. With a little effort and a basic understanding of the 5 fundamental PR strategies you will be well on your way to good public relations and increased business.
In part 1 of “Growing your Business – Basic PR strategies” I would like to discuss the importance of good Media communications. Public relations is often taken to be mostly Media Relations but this is far from the truth (as we will examine in the following 4 sections).
News Releases: time tested and true, News Releases have changed dramatically in recent years. With the expansion of the internet, the blogosphere, and social networking it is no longer truly necessary to get the attention of a newspaper columnist or news reporter. Literally millions of possible points of interest are available to you at any time with hundreds of willing websites offering to distribute your press release to all of them.
Unfortunately, because of this explosion of information, it has also become far harder to stand out amongst the crowd. Bare this in mind when you come up with a story for your business, do not try to make a story where none exists. For local businesses in particular it is a good idea to sponsor local charities or initiatives. You would be surprised how many local writers and reporters are looking for evidence of community involvement and have few local heros to talk to.
Archives: Even if your news release does not get picked up by any major newspaper or website, keep it in your own web archives as a paper-trail of credibility. Not only does this help your website with rankings in the search engine (if you have a proper SEO campaign) but it provides more reason for newspapers to pick up future News.
Talking to the Media : Motivation is always a key factor when calling the newsroom floor and trying to pitch your story. For many of my clients confidence is the key obstacle in successfully communicating with the media. They stumble, they repeat themselves, or they forget key story elements in their hurry to “close the deal”. And yet they are tremendously motivated.
The key to success is Clarity and I talk about this a lot in my work with clients and my day to day life. Motivation is incredibly important, but Clarity on your motivations is the foundation of achievement. Clarity allows you patience and the ability to manoeuvre intelligently; this is the key to good communication, particularly over the telephone with someone in a busy newsroom.
Remember, the people you are calling are constantly busy and ridiculously so when it’s close to deadline. Be understanding, ask them if they are close to deadline and if they have a minute. Build a rapport and they will pay more attention to you. Another important key is being respectful enough to know who you are calling and what they write about (and to whom). Research the paper, channel, or website and find out what they specialize in. Get familiar with the different categories and find one that fits your story. Get familiar with the authors and their points of view.
I cannot stress enough how your success in this research and communication is dependent on your ability to maintain your drive, your focus, and your personal energy level. Media representatives deal with many different people from many walks of life. They have heard it all and they will be able to read you very well. Know your motivations and focus on Clarity.
“The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives”
Anthony Robbins quotes
In part 2 of “Growing your business – Basic PR strategies” I will take a look at Networking.