The reading level for this article is All Levels
It’s the Story, Not the Size of Your Business!
By Beth Silver, Doubet Consulting
Have you ever wondered why companies less established than yours receive better press than you? Well, the answer may be simple: they get publicity out there now while you’re waiting to grow before making your move. As an entrepreneur or business owner, you need to be realistic about your business, time, budgets, and marketing efforts, but if you think about your business objectively for a moment, you may have a story that an editor/journalist is looking for right now—no matter what size your firm is.
The following tips will help you begin exploring PR opportunities to widen your reach.
1. Know what public relations is.
Public relations is simply the relationship your organization has with the outside world, which includes everyone—friends, relatives, customers, future prospects, competitors, and employees, if you have any. While the relationship you create with your public can have a profound effect on your business, please be aware that all of these people will not immediately make a purchasing decision or change their mind if they only see something once. With public relations, you must be consistent with your message and your actions.
2. Know what public relations is not.
PR is not advertising. The purpose of PR is to inform the public about news and events. You are not selling; you are providing tidbits of information that you are hoping an editor or journalist will see and use for their stories. Editors and journalists hate hearing about promotional offers, for example, so if you have one, consider using advertising instead of PR as your marketing vehicle. Don’t waste a great potential relationship with an editor or journalist in hopes of publicizing a quick promotion. If you do, these professionals will ignore you when you do have real news to report.
3. Have a plan and an angle.
No matter what business you’re in, if you do not have a marketing or PR plan, you will find business more difficult to obtain—and you will probably annoy many editors along the way, too. If you are someone who rushes into things and needs to see immediate results, then publicity is not the right medium for you. Realize that magazines and newspapers have strict editorial calendars, deadlines, and space limitations to respect and they often develop their stories over the course of several months. Also, newspapers and magazines have to report important news stories, which often moves planned stories aside. Keep these parameters in mind as you create your marketing and PR plan. In addition, make sure your publicity has a clear angle of interest to the publication’s readers. If it doesn’t, the editor will probably push it aside. In other words, remember your target market. In this case, it is the readers of that particular publication. Highlight news angles that appeal to their interests. Businesses use Doubet to achieve effective PR to leverage their assets, identify and pitch stories, and showcase their expertise.
Creating a PR plan will ensure that you enhance your business by creating well-received stories, by publicizing your news in the proper format and within the time frame of the publications and ultimately, by establishing strong relationships with the media.
4. Be respectful of an editor’s timing requirements.
Timing is vital. Don’t submit a press release on Monday for an event your business is sponsoring on Tuesday. Editors will ignore you. If a newsworthy occurrence comes out after your event that creates a nice tie-in to your business, that’s OK—your press release can at least mention that your event happened.
If you do want to publicize a newsworthy story linked to your business, make sure you do it early enough so the media can react within their time frame. When contacting media professionals, ask what their deadline is. Never ask when your story will run.
At Doubet, I strategize with clients on public relations so that they can formulate relationships with their public and grow their business. If you would like to see what publicity angles you and your firm may be able to maximize, feel free to give me a call. PR is a lot of fun—when you do it right. I look forward to seeing you all in the media in the upcoming months!