One of the keys to successful business performance is knowing how to communicate important news to your target audience – which usually means dealing with the press in some form. This isn’t always as easy as simply firing off an email – read on to find out how best to reach the media with your message.
1) Hire the right expertise
If, as the business owner, you don’t have the skills to engage in PR activities, make sure you get help from someone who does. This may mean hiring a marketing executive or engaging the services of a PR agency, depending on what you want to achieve.
You could always teach yourself the basics of PR, but this can be time-consuming – and you still may not have the expertise to properly deal with unexpected PR issues.
2) Deal directly with the press
The internet and email have made it incredibly easy to conduct PR activities without picking up a phone – but that doesn’t mean this is the only way to go about it. Emails can be easily ignored and tweets can sink without a trace, but speaking directly to the people who can bring your message to a wider audience is more likely to be effective.
This could involve anything from ringing a journalist to offer details on a potentially great story for them, rather than just sending them a press release without an explanation, to setting up a remote meeting with a group of reporters and bloggers using a teleconferencing service. They’re much more likely to remember and write about your news if they can ask questions to find the best angle, rather than sift through a lengthy press release.
3) Network, network, network
Making the right contacts in the media can be incredibly helpful when you’re trying to get your business off the ground, especially if you can make yourself known to the local press. That’s why it’s a good idea to attend any community events with which local businesses are involved – it’s likely members of the press will already be in attendance, giving you a good opportunity to introduce yourself to them.
Similarly, identifying the most popular bloggers in your sector and speaking to them to see if they would be interested in receiving press materials from you – while also interacting with their blog, where relevant – can be helpful.
Take the time to foster a positive relationship with all of these contacts. It might not happen overnight, but you should think of this as a long-term strategy to boost PR for your firm.
4) Take advantage of online PR services
While we’ve already said that the internet isn’t the be all and end all of successful PR, it can certainly help. There are several useful services available that connect journalists with companies looking to spread their news, giving writers the lead they’re looking for while offering firms the publicity they crave.
Online press release distribution services can also be handy for getting your announcement on the web and making it easy to cover for journalists and bloggers who do most of their sourcing and research on the internet. Be sure to carefully optimise your release for search engines while checking that the text makes sense and gets your main point across.
5) Make sure what you have to say is newsworthy
Not all announcements are seen as newsworthy by the press, meaning it’s important you only issue a press release or roll out a major social media campaign if you have something worth shouting about, whether it’s a huge uplift in sales, the launch of an exciting new product that will revolutionise the market or a major new hire.
This will save you time and give journalists less irrelevant material to scan when they’re looking for the major leads of the day. Reporters and bloggers are also more likely to cover your story if you haven’t previously bombarded them with pointless press releases!