Understanding and knowing what steps to take to carry out a successful small business PR campaign can be daunting, confusing and quite overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be.
If you have messaging complete, something newsworthy to say and it is communicated in the right way, the chances of getting coverage is in your favor.
Here are six basic steps to help get you started:
1. Create a plan of action
Objectives are outcomes that represent the achievement of a goal. It’s important to set definitive goals and objectives of your PR campaign in order to provide a specific purpose for your communication among the audience you are trying to reach. Furthermore, by developing definitive goals—you will be able to effectively measure your campaign against business objectives.
2. Research and build a solid media list
Media influencers are the bread and butter of a PR campaign. You must know what each of your targeted media and blogger contacts is looking for and how your message or story idea can interest them. Learn the areas (beats) they cover, and past/current stories they’ve written so you can create the story or message angle intelligently and on target.
3. Write a press release
This can be tricky—especially since a press release (aka news release) is to write with a journalistic voice that informs with value rather than promotes your company, product or service. A good rule of thumb is to follow the who, what, when, where, why elements. Images are ideal too. Remember: A press release is just an informative tool—your pitch is the crown. PRNewswire provides great tips on how to write a press release than can help you get started, and the Associated Press has a style guide that aligns with journalistic writing.
4. Pitch the media
Pitching is an area that is certainly trial and error if you’ve never pitched before. Don’t get discouraged—as you engage more with journalists and build relationships you will be able to gauge when deadlines are, or when the best time to call or email. What is the story you are trying to say? Is it newsworthy? Timely? Why would the reporter care? Why would the reader care? It’s also ideal to research the publication and stories your target media influencer has written about, and arm yourself with industry trends and compelling statistics to develop a relevant and timely pitch/news angle that will ultimately spark interest from the reporter to cover you.
5. Follow up
Following up with a reporter or blogger once you’ve pitched is essential. Although you may get a follow up call from the media, it doesn’t always happen. Proactively call (or email if requested) the reporter or blogger, introduce yourself, ask if it’s a good time to speak, explain your message and offer to provide further information for their use in crafting a story about your news. Wait a day or three before follow up. Don’t ramble, be pleasant, direct, helpful, and willing to answer questions.
6. Continue the momentum
Once you’ve gotten on a reporter or blogger’s radar, it is best to continue your PR campaign with a consistent flow of news, company developments and other pertinent information about your business and marketplace. By doing so, you are building credibility, thought-leadership, and a competitive advantage among other players in your industry.
Congratulations! You are now on your way to better understand how to launch a successful PR campaign!
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