No matter how large or small your business is, the key to securing publicity is identifying your target market and developing a well-thought-out PR campaign. To get your company noticed, follow these seven steps:
- Write your positioning statement.This sums up in a few sentences what distinguishes your business from the competition.
- Set your objectives.What do you hope to achieve for your company through the publicity plan you put into action? List your top five goals in order of priority.
- Identify your target audience.Are they male or female? What age range? What are their lifestyles, incomes, and buying habits? Where do they live?
- Identify your target media.List the newspapers, TV and radio programmes in your area that would be appropriate outlets. Make a complete list of the media you want to target, then call them and ask who you should contact regarding your area of business. Identify the specific reporter or producer who covers your area so you can contact them directly.
- Develop story angles.Keeping in mind the media you’re approaching, create a list of story ideas you can pitch to them. Develop the story angles you would wish to read about or see on TV. Think back to the last feature you read or saw about a company that kept your attention.
- Pitch your stories.Put your thoughts on paper, and send them to the reporter in a ‘pitch letter’. Begin with a question or an interesting fact that relates your business to the target medium’s audience.
If appropriate, include a press release with your letter. Be sure to include your positioning statement at the end of any correspondence or press release that you send.
- Follow up.Following up is the key to securing coverage. Wait for four to six days after you have sent the information, then follow up your pitch letter with a telephone call. If you leave a message on voicemail and the reporter doesn’t call you back, call again until you get them on the phone.
Always think of a press release as your ticket to publicity. First of all, be sure you have a good reason for sending a press release, for example a grand opening, a new product, a record-setting sales year, a new location or a special event. Secondly, make sure your press release is appropriately targeted to the publication or broadcaster that you’re sending it to. It sounds obvious, but many entrepreneurs make the mistake of sending press releases at random without considering a publication’s audience.
Another way to achieve publicity is by reaching out to media through easy steps. Know exactly what you’re going to say before you telephone the reporter. Have it written down in front of you—it’s easier, and you’ll feel more confident. Be persistent. Remember, not everyone will be interested. If your story idea is turned down, try to find out why and use that information to improve your next pitch. Be helpful and become a resource by providing reporters with information. Remember, they need your creative story ideas – there are only so many that they can come up with on their own.