Firstly, how many of us actually know what PR is, how it works and what it does? Well PR, also known as public relations describes various methods a company uses to distribute messages about its products, services, or overall image to its customers, stockholders, suppliers, or even other interested members of the community. The whole point of PR is to make the public think favourably about the company, product and services to try and increase the company turnover and profit. Traditional tools of PR include news releases, press conferences, events and guest speeches.
Whatever stage you are at in your business plan, we all know that clients can be very hard to come by, gaining new leads and interest can be the single most difficult challenge for any size business. PR is the perfect way to spread great news about your company in order to improve your organisations reputation within the community and generate new leads!
Unfortunately, this all sounds very easy…and it isn’t! There are lots of ways to win new business but you have to be prepared to work very hard, to get out there and meet lots of new people while investing time and money into your own marketing. Here are some top tips before you conduct a PR stunt:
Prep the Foundations
You must be prepared to spend time meeting people, clients, graphic designers, printing specialist companies to ensure the market has heard of your name. Try and go for local companies, Googling phrases such as ‘printers Milton Keynes’ and ‘graphic designers Cambridge’. These contacts may also help you to provide, graphics for your leaflets that will be published by the online printing company which will be distributed to the people and prospective clients you have met or researched.
Spread Like Butter…
Now when you have a story, or event that you need to get out there – tell everyone you know! Family, friends, employees, competitors, previous employees. This word of mouth should be a great starting point to your PR campaign. Presuming you have identified your target market (people/companies who you want to target and inform about your event or service) then you need to get cracking with the leaflets/letters/invitations etc. and send them out to all on your list! If you don’t hear anything back immediately don’t panic! Keep all details of the people you have sent the information to and do a follow up phone call a week later to see if they got the information you sent them. This will give a personal touch to your PR campaign, and people will respond positively to this.
Get to know your Neighbours
It’s a great idea to get into bed with other local firms as you can throw a lot of work each other’s way. If you are holding an event – then invite them! You can perhaps set up endorsements for each other and pass each work. Don’t be afraid to make friends with some of your competition – you might find that you can cross-promote each other and also fill in skills gaps.
Yes you heard that right, you can do some of this for free!!
- Social media: whether you can get to grips with social media or not, it is free tool that and can be used to promote your PR stunt alongside doing it. You should already have a Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn page already set up on behalf of your company, but if you haven’t already – do so! Social media is a fabulous way to build relationships with your customers and build word-of-mouth publicity, but be aware of how much time you spend running online profiles – you don’t want to be on there ALL day!
- Viral marketing: this means photos and videos are a great idea! Whether it’s a YouTube video with thousands of views, or a photo that is tweeted and retweeted, if your promotional material goes ‘viral’ it can give your public profile a huge boost! Unfortunately there is no magic formulae, just try and think of something funky and outside the box – you need to capture people’s imaginations!
- Press release: now whether you are skilled enough to write one or you have to outsource one, it’s worth it! Once you have one written, post it everywhere you can! From your local online new site, to your own website and link these back to your website and social media handles. Make sure you go for an eye-catching headline and a strong, summarising the opening paragraph before getting into the juicy details – good luck!