Tuesday 14 February 2012

How to make PR work for you

Written by: Barbara Spiller, PR advisor at n.b. marketing ltd

Public relations (PR) is about reputation - the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. Its aim is to earn the market's understanding and support while influencing opinion and behaviour.

Unless you are a large organisation with a dedicated communications or press office, it is unlikely you'll have the experience and knowledge to run a PR campaign. This is where using an outsourced PR professional or agency can really help.

  • Structured Approach - For PR to be effective it is best if there is structure and discipline so that you know what you are going to publicise, when you are going to publicise it and to whom. Planning a coordinated campaign in advance by reviewing current projects and developments in the business will help you stay focused and makes monitoring results and outcomes more easily.

  • Objectivity - If you have spent a considerable amount of time and energy developing a new product or service, it is only natural you will feel a degree of personal passion about its sales success. The down side is that it can lead to false perceptions about what the market feels about the product, service or company development you want to promote. You need to be able to take an objective view on what makes an interesting new story by focusing on what is most likely to appeal to the market and media being used.

  • News Planning - Finding the right 'angle' to interest and motivate a journalist to use your story is absolutely key. Very often you will have to adapt a press release for each publication you send it to make it more relevant. Don't forget, your agenda is likely to be different to the media's agenda.

  • Media Planning - The UK has more published titles than any other country so you need to do research into which are most likely to put you in front of your customers. Not every press release you produce will be relevant to every publication on your circulation list. Not only that, but there may be others you may not have considered that could work well for you.
  • Media Relations - Becoming known and respected by the media in your market is vital to achieving PR success. You need to get to know the editors, reporters and journalists so that any news story you submit is treated with credibility. You have to know their deadlines, their readership, their media plan and make it easier for them to deliver a high value, quality broadcast or publication.
If you're stuck for ideas, here's a list to get you started:
1. Has your business won a new contract recently?
2. Has your business recently undergone a significant company development?
3. Has your business had experience in a current issue that has hit national or international headlines?
4. Has your business any direct experience in current industry-specific issues?
5. Is your business linked to any local initiatives that are receiving media interest?
6. Have you read or heard a news feature on a particular topic that you are qualified to comment on?
7. Has your business recently entered or won an award?
8. Do you have any employees that are engaged in social enterprise programmes or community-based projects?
9. Does your business sponsor any club, organisation or event?