An Introduction to PR
Welcome to “How to get press for your business.” My name is Lucy and I run a specialist PR consultancy, Wern, for small businesses, startups, independent brands, and entrepreneurs.
I am a firm believer that all business owners have the potential to implement their own PR program. Don’t get me wrong: I make a living out of supporting people with publicity services, and some of the work coming out of PR agencies is phenomenally brilliant. But if you own a small business—whether for a product, service, or space—there are a few tips and tricks you can do for yourself that will get you started.
What Is PR?
You probably already know what PR is, but just in case, I’m going to give you a quick intro to what I believe PR is, as well as debunk a few myths.
Grab yourself a designated PR notebook for all things publicity related, and across the next ten days, we will start to map out a simple publicity strategy for you to follow.
In simple words, public relations are:
• your/your business relationship with the public
• a useful component of a communications strategy to build your public awareness
• an opportunity to tell a positive story about your business to the wider world (PR uses storytelling or a narrative to be featured in print publications, social media, or speaking platforms)
Public relations are NOT:
• an opportunity for you to tell a journalist what to write—e.g., a whole one-page feature on your business about how great/different/new/unique it is
• a paid for promotional or marketing piece of copy (this is an advert)
• all about the contacts in your address book (obviously, this helps, but some of the best pieces of coverage I have secured was through bespoke and tailored emails and doing my research)
• an excuse to take a journalist out for a long lunch and get them drunk enough to write about you (we are not living in a Wolf of Wall Street era, my friends)
You might be asking, why not just pay for an advertisement instead of spending your money and time on public relations? Well, editorial is generally more trusted than advertising. You pay for an advertisement and it appears once (or however many times you pay for it to appear). But once you have mastered the skills of creating your own publicity, you can create an ongoing buzz around your business whenever you want.
Now, grab your notebook, and write down the answers to the following questions:
1. What are your business objectives?
There is no point in doing PR for the sake of it; it needs to fall out of what you need to grow your business. You must have these first.
2. What are the key events, calendar dates, or occasions throughout the year that are important to your business?
Think about moments across the year you want to promote. This list will help you plan your PR activity. These might be gifting moments, such as Christmas or Mother’s Day, or they could look like events, such as a government election. A quick google of National Days may also prove helpful, with ideas of quirky and weird hooks, e.g., National Pizza Day.
3. Who are you trying to reach?
It’s the cliché, but if you don’t put your coordinates in your GPS, how are you going to get there? Likewise, if you don’t know who your customer is, then you won’t know how to reach them.
You should only do activity that matches any of the above; if it does not tick any of these boxes, then don’t do it. This leads us nicely to today’s PR homework, to be ready for tomorrow’s session on how to study the news. Think about your dream piece of press coverage. For instance, if you could have a hero article in any publication, radio, podcast, or TV, where would it be? After that, create a list of the ten media outlets in which you would like your business to appear. Once the list is ready, cross-reference it against your target audience: Do they read any of these?
Tomorrow, armed with this list, we will do a deep dive on how to make the most of these publications for your business.
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