My name is Beth Spencer, and I manage the PR and Marketing for MintTwist. I also work with MintTwist’s clients developing their PR strategies. Having worked in PR and Marketing for the past seventeen years, I have put together the blog post below with some of the ways I kick off a PR strategy.
So…you would like to get your business’ name in the press. Perhaps someone has suggested to you that you should try and “do” some PR. Yes, you think, how hard can that be? Aha, well follow me, my friend. Compiling a digital PR strategy can be a tricky task.
Firstly, I would recommend you research, research, research. Start by creating a list of publications online that your audience read. Where do they get their news from? What are they excited in? Who are their “influencers”? If you are not sure, asking your customers directly is a fantastic place to start. Remember to include influential blogs, news outlets and community sites. Utilise your competitors too! Where have they got coverage? What was this around? Is this something the company you work for can ?
Next, you need to work out which element of your business you would like to focus on, and what the key messages are that you would like to tell. If you can identify a message that is particularly unusual or interesting, then that is obviously advantageous.
Perhaps your company has an interesting back-story? ‘Entrepreneur’ stories are very interesting to readers – perhaps how you built your company up from working at your kitchen table. Or it could be that your product is produced in a way that differentiates itself from your competitors?
You may have different messages for different audiences. I find it useful to actually draw out three or four customers at this stage and then relate the messages and stories to them. So, for example, you may have defined that one of your customers may be mid-thirties male, married with children, he reads business blogs on the way to work and enjoys running.
Think Outside The Box
What in your business would he be interested in reading about? Is there a way to tie in your business or product with something that would resonate with him. Perhaps you are an estate agent in Manchester and could write a content piece about the best areas to run in Manchester. Remember you are talking to him and not the journalist. He is your customer and the reason you are doing the PR.
I find it useful at this point to then produce a PR calendar. You may have product launches this year. You should also include important times of the year for your customer – tax year-end for example if that is relevant, Christmas etc – that you can provide comment and support on.
You could also use blogger relations or celebrity gifting as a part of your strategy. Bloggers could work as a guest blogger on your site during the campaign. They could also generate reviews and interviews. Celebrity gifting could spread into photographs or video fed through social and a shout out from the celebrity themselves. This will all cost money but if you think it will target your customer directly it is worth testing the water.
Leveraging bloggers & influencers is a great way of generating coverage & buzz about a particular product or brand. According to research by affiliate network, consumers were asked whether they trusted the opinions of mainstream media outlets (magazines, newspapers, and online titles tied to a publisher), or independent bloggers/vloggers more, when it came to purchasing decisions, and the bloggers came out on top; 57% vs 43%. (How to work with influencers and bloggers is another blog post in itself – one I will try and write next).
It is important to tie in all of your online presence to your PR work. Your messaging needs to be consistent across all of your channels. There is no point creating coverage in the press saying one thing and then when people get to your website or your Twitter feed you don’t mention this product at all.
I find surveys are often a great way of getting press coverage. If you can think of a way to tie in your key messaging to the results of a survey then it is quite easy to run one using YouGov or Google Surveys. You will have to invest some money in this upfront but a story such as ’49 % of people don’t know where their stopcock is’ when you are a plumbing company is a great way to get your name out there and has longevity.
Remember, the key to PR is to create content that is useful and engaging to the reader. This means it cannot be sales speak and has to have information that the reader is keen to receive.
Once you have drafted your story, product release or ‘how to’ guide then it is time to contact the journalists and start building those relationships. Good luck!
If you would like to have a chat about your business and PR, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.