Creating publicity with public relations is a lot of hard work but studies show that PR is 8-10 times more believable than advertising. Getting your name in the newspaper, in the trade press, on the internet, on the radio, or on television helps build credibility and helps build your brand.
A PR strategy has the following essential elements:
• Create the positioning message; what is the one thing that you want your target market to know about you or your firm?
• Write a two- to three-word mantra which describes the message. These will be the words used in your workplace and externally. They must be memorable and believable.
• Test your message with your staff, your vendors, and your customers. How does the target audience receive it? Adjust your message based on the feedback. Test it again.
• Create press releases so that you present your pitch in the form of news. More than a commercial, tie the launch of your press releases to a significant event to create timeliness. The press is always interested in what is timely, informative, and they like it to be a bit controversial.
• Create press kits; when they call, you need to send follow-up materials. They always ask for them. This is done by e-mail more and more; some may ask for paper, so have both types ready.
• Create product evaluation kits; these are great selling tools for customers. Include a sample of your merchandise. This can be done virtually on the web or by mail.
• Create mailing lists for customers, prospects, and everyone else that needs to hear your story. This name development is critical and needs to be an ongoing process; the best lists are built by getting permission from visitors to your website. Lists can also be purchased and PR firms can help with this task.
• Introduce yourself to analysts, industry mavens, and people of influence. This may seem daunting on your own, but if you start asking around and watching for names in the industry periodicals, you will find them. This is also when a PR agency helps a lot. Your goal is to build a relationship with these movers and shakers; it is up to you to stay in touch since they won’t call you.
• Make some noise! This would be press releases, interviews, and events. Be sure you contact PR Newswire, Business Wire, Market Wire etc. Throw a party! Frequency of contact is the number one criteria in a purchasing decision, so you cannot have enough publicity.
• Track your success by monitoring new leads, number of press quotes, and other indicators of awareness. This will help evaluate the effectiveness of your current PR efforts and help with future PR choices.
• Create a constituency with the readership by seeking feedback and involving them in the critique of your PR effort. Heed their advice and modify what the plan. This will also help facilitate the creation of relationships with the press.
John Bradley Jackson
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