PR is essentially about developing your business by raising its media profile. For a small business, effective PR can be the difference between success and failure. At HearingDirect.com we recognise the value PR brings to our business. Here are our top tips for generating PR coverage:
1 Know your audience
Who is your product/service aimed at? Successful PR works because you reach the right audience with a clear message that is relevant to them.
2 Target specific media
Knowing and understanding the media outlets your target audience consumes will help you target your audience. This will enable you to get an idea for the types of stories you need to pitch to maximise coverage.
3 Offer something new
Your story must tell your audience something they haven’t heard before and fit the profile of your target publication. For example, a local newspaper is more likely to cover a human-interest story, while a trade publication is more likely to focus on industry issues. In both cases, however, editors want a relevant, interesting “hook” to the story. Make sure you have created a good plan with a clear message.
4 Devise a clear and succinct message
Many journalists/editors are too busy to read all of the emails they receive, so always identify the right person you need to speak to and call them before sending your story. Always call them at the beginning of the day. When speaking to them, and in the follow up email, your message should be clear and concise – you should be able to sum it up in a few sentences. If it sounds too complicated, it’s likely to put people off. Anticipate and clearly label all materials editors need, explaining why your story is worth covering. Mark the email you send with the words “Press Release”.
5 Provide good images
A good photograph can be the difference between a story being published or not, because editors like to illustrate stories with images that draw in readers. However, nothing is more amateur than using passport or home photos for publicity shots. Spend a couple of hundred pounds getting some professional single and group shots of your staff. Buy the copyright to the images and make sure they’re supplied on disk. This means you can offer journalists high-quality photos via email at no cost.
6 Build good relationships with the media
You need to build good relationships with journalists because this is the basis of your interaction with the media. These take time to develop and should be viewed as a long-term investment.
7 Remember these important points
Everything you say to a journalist is ‘on the record’ and can be referenced unless you are specifically promised otherwise in advance. Journalists don’t have to show you their story before it goes to print. Always ask a journalist what their deadline is and send them everything they need within that timescale and be aware your story may not appear in the next issue – or even at all.
Digital hearing aid sellers HearingDirect.com was recently voted the UK’s 59th most promising start-up for 2010.