You know you need to implement some public relations into your business, but perhaps the thought is overwhelming. You’re probably asking yourself, “Where do I even start?” Not to put down our own trade, but PR is an art. And it isn’t brain surgery or rocket science.
Yes, real PR pros are excellent from strategy and tactics to statistical analysis, but PR also involves a lot of good old common sense. Here are five tips to get you started:
Make sure you’re serving your audience’s needs
This looks like a simple statement, but many businesses seem to get this wrong. They start sending out messages that they like and ignore the needs and trigger benefits of their key audience. Start developing your messaging by concentrating on the pain points of the people you want to reach. Why do they need or want your product or service? What can you offer that will simplify their lives? What will take their “pain” away? Can you help save or make them money? Once you’ve considered these things, you can start working on ways to strategically position the company around those key points.
Make it measurable
The days of thinking you’re unable to quantify PR activities are over. Technology has afforded us the ability to create specific measurable actions for our campaigns. Are you placing an article in an online publication? You can track referral traffic back to your website to measure the effectiveness of that article. Use specific links to measure how activities have impacted sales or leads. View open rates in newsletters, use tracking programs to measure the success of your PR placements, pitches and to stay abreast of which media professionals give you and your product the most love. The savviest PR professionals are doing these things and you should be too.
Pitching the media? Don’t go in blind
If you’re pitching the media, bloggers or other influencers, take a little time to get to know their work. Compliment a reporter on a recent article. Ask the industry blogger how you can help make their job easier. Let them know you’re interested in building a relationship, not just pushing information at them and hoping it will stick. Remember, these people are human and they’re being hounded constantly by some of your PR counterparts. Be pleasant, be real and appeal to their personality.
Have a crisis? Say something
The biggest mistake you can make during a time of crisis is to go without acknowledging its existence. Saying something to your audience will go a long way to put speculation of indifference to rest. Be sure to stick to the facts, stay calm and show empathy. But never remain silent.
Have some fun with it
Yeah, we know. Sometimes your subject matter can be a little dry, but there’s almost always a way to bring fun into a campaign (as long as it’s generally tasteful). Of course you need to respect the rules and culture of the company you’re representing, but appeal to the fun side of your audience to break through the noise. For example, read about how WhiteHot Marketing used Star Wars to get RV manufacturers and dealers tuned into our client’s software product at a trade show. It works.
Starting your PR activities with these tips in mind will get you started on the right path to connect with your audience and ensure that you’re continuing to do so. So go ahead, get it started and have some fun along the way.