What is PR?
Public relations (PR) is about the communication and relationship your business has with the public and the media.
A PR campaign or event publicises your business and helps to builds up a good reputation. Done well, PR creates positive awareness and helps to drives sales.
Your local media is usually willing to run stories on new local business ventures so you should make the most of this opportunity to spread the word about your business while you can. However, PR should be seen as a long-term strategy, getting publicity can take time and patience and should form part of your ongoing marketing.
Understanding your target market (your ideal customers) is key. Successful PR is about reaching the right people with your message at the right time.
You really need to think about the audience you want to reach and understand what they like and want. You need to make sure your business is ready too, for a possible surge in sales, or for increased enquiries or requests for further publicity.
How to find journalists
Look at the website or printed publication of the media company you’d like to get featured with, read articles in the sections which you want to feature in and look for the journalists name on the article. There is sometimes a direct email address, which is great news! (pun totally intended), but more often than not the article will give their Twitter handle – this means you can reach them directly on Twitter, and they are going to be your way-in to that publication.
Twitter is also a good direct source of information, try looking at the hashtags #PRrequest or #JournoRequest
Getting good PR is not always easy as your news story may not necessarily be what the media wants to report on. So it pays to spend time doing some research first.
A press release is a written statement which you publish on your website or send to journalist for inclusion in the media, it may be something you prompt to try and get some publicity, or it may be in response to a query or some ‘bad press’ which has already gone out in order to give your side of the story
For your own publicity, press releases can be a great way to get featured. Journalists are busy people – if you can send them a newsworthy story which is well written, free from spelling mistakes and ready to go you stand a good chance of it being published.
The more effective way is to email the right journalist directly with the press release in the email rather than an attachment. Then add an editor’s note with details of when it should be released if it’s time sensitive, and state if there are images available, again don’t send these as attachments, the journalist will contact you if they are interested in having images to accompany the story.
Check out > 5 keys to writing a great press release
Become the expert
PR isn’t always about news stories and updates from your business. You can also position yourself an expert on a certain topic and provide a fresh insight or different view on a relevant subject.
Journalists often seek potential interviewees and experts to help them fill airtime and provide fresh content. Research key media companies and publications to identify possible opportunities and approach them with ideas. Radio programmes with regular phone-ins or interviews are ideal, as they are constantly looking for new people and topics to cover.