Last week we talked about the differences between advertising and public relations. But do you know how the elements of public relations come together to create a successful PR campaign? According to Apryl Duncan, About.com’s advertising specialist, there are five key public relations components which marketing agents or business owners can use to kick off a public relations campaign, even with very little prior experience. Those are:
- Write a Press Release: Every time your business launches a new strategy or offers a new product, update your media contacts (see below) through a formal press release. Templates for press releases are available for free online, and are an invaluable tool for first-time press release writers. Remember, the content should be readable but informative, and appeal to the interests of the media outlets who you hope will publish and promote your business’s endeavors.
- Compile a Press Kit: Along with a press release, a press kit may include your company’s brochure, a fact sheet, a business summary, contact information for your PR representative, service quotes, high-res images, and a product sample if applicable. As a first impression, your press kit will reflect your business. While some companies send out hyper-modern press kits with eye-catching packaging and digital counterparts, sometimes the best way to make an impression is with an organized, concise folder or envelope containing easy-to-navigate data in its traditional form. A press kit should reflect your company voice and brand. You may want to opt for pizzazz if you’re a tech-savvy web design firm, or rely on convention if you do financial accounting. Ultimately, the choice is up to you.
- Blog Away: If your business already has a blog or website, it’s a vital space to promote business developments and upcoming events. For one, it’s a central, universal space to which you can direct media contacts and potential clients for information on your business—putting your blog or web address in the right hands is more powerful than a thousand business cards. It’s also a resource for promotion. If someone does want to cover your business and wares, they can link straight to your page or pull information from your blog at any given time, without waiting for you to contact them first.
- Build Media Relations: The primary job of a public relations agent is to cultivate a roster of media contacts who can help spread the word about the business they represent. To build long-lasting media connections, here’s what you need to do: Get in touch with media outlets. Introduce yourself to the representative that best suits your company’s message (i.e., the beauty editor of a magazine if you’re a skincare brand). Collect contact information and give out your own. And keep in touch on a regular basis, even if you’re just checking in when there’s not much going on. Cultivating media relations is the hardest, most important part of public relations. It’s an on-going job, but if you can hack it, you’re in for a world of benefits that can do as much for your business as the priciest of ad campaigns.
- Sponsor Media Events: As Ms. Duncan notes, putting together a big event will attract more coverage than a small ceremony or the passing of a check. Make your sponsorships and product launches spectacular and headline-worthy, so that when you invite your media contacts to attend, they’ll want to show up. And when they do, you’ll give them something to talk about. A celebrity-studded, charity-oriented, prize-giveaway event may be more costly up front, but you’ll be surprised at how it can pay for itself with the publicity your business will attract.
At Mad 4 Marketing, these are just a few of the elements we use when creating a solid public relations campaign for our clients. We utilize these classic public relations tactics to put our clients’ messages out into the world via print, web, and word of mouth. Even if your business isn’t prepared to handle its own PR right now, we suggest that you begin building your contacts in the media, start a blog, and store a few press release templates on the company’s shared drive—just so you’ll always be ready for the opportunity to boost business by conquering the art of free publicity. Until then, we’re here to help.