Developing a good public relations plan is a great way to get exposure for your business.
What’s in a PR plan? Even if you are a small company, be sure to take advantage of public relations to spread the word about your business. Your plan should include:
- A list of targeted editors
- Schedule of possible product/service announcements
- Contacts within your company who could be considered subject matter experts
- A plan for pitching articles to editors
- A review of the editorial calendars for targeted publications, and
- A commitment to provide information to editors as quickly as possible
What will you write about? Make a list of the events you can announce. Include the following:
- Opening of a location
- Hiring of a new employee
- Getting a new client
- Offering another service or product
- Partnering with another company
What’s in the release? When making any announcement, stick to the facts. Editors don’t want to hear the marketing or benefits side to what you are announcing. They want news. In fact, if you include marketing information your release will probably not be published. There are lots of PR sites online, PRWeb.com, i-newswire.com, and others that provide tips on writing a press release.
How do you publish a release? We’ve found that there are advantages to distributing your release in two ways:
- An online newswire service provides the most potential for exposure.
- Your own list of preferred editors targets a specific audience and makes it easier for them to publish your announcement.
An online service will blanket magazines, journals, newspapers, TV and radio stations and online media outlets. Depending on the service, you can distribute the release nationally, regionally or locally. There is a cost for these outlets but the benefits far outweigh the costs. You can register for this service yourself or you can go through a marketing or PR firm to write and distribute the release for you.
A preferred editor list is another great way to target publications. The names on your list should be editors you’ve talked to, or were referred to, by the publication. It takes some research and leg work, but ask around. Find out what people read and search out the appropriate editors at these publications or news sites for your announcements. And don’t forget your local papers, community website, city sites, associations, newsletters and blogs. These are all venues that look for appropriate information to publish and will give your company exposure.
Who’s your contact? Your release should include a contact. The contact should be someone at your PR or marketing firm, who may already have a relationship with the editor. You can include a second contact, the product manager or subject matter expert appropriate to the announcement.
Be prepared for calls. This is probably the biggest mistake made by most companies. They write the release, distribute it, and forget to follow through on phone calls. Here are some tips for working with editors:
- The contact on your press release should be available when the editor calls.
- The timeline for editors is rarely more than 24-48 hours. If you don’t return the call or email, you’ve missed the opportunity.
- The editor is always right! Don’t try to correct his/her language or sentence structure. Whether you like how that person writes or not, you are not the editor. Your job is to give facts, answer questions and provide information is simple English. You can ask the editor if it’s possible to review his/her notes, but understand that they may refuse. If you are lucky enough to get notes electronically, resist the urge to make changes! They will not be appreciated. If the facts are wrong, you can make note of that in the return phone call or email.
Consider outsourcing this function. A PR or marketing firm will almost always get you better results. How much more exposure you’ll get depends on the announcement and target audience. It’s not uncommon for a PR firm to get at least double the exposure than a company can get on their own. The wire service you use makes a difference. And PR/Marketing firms know how to write the release and how to approach the editor.
What’s the cost for PR? The cost of PR depends on the wire service used and the range of services you need. Do you want your PR firm to pitch ideas to editors? Do you want them to attend certain events? Do you anticipate a controversial announcement? All of these factors must be considered. Public Relations can be very cost effective. As in any marketing initiative, it may be worthwhile to get a few quotes from PR/Marketing firms before making a decision.
What’s the benefit of PR? Whenever your company name is mentioned and your colleagues are interviewed and quoted, you get third party validation of your success. The information that is printed or posted results in exposure for your company in various media outlets. Your exposure is amplified by the number of outlets that run your release. The alternative to PR is buying ad space in various media outlets – an alternative that is much less effective and considerably more costly to you.
Let Make It Count Marketing help you with your public relations plan. Give us a call and we can discuss ideas with you. We’ll suggest options; YOU decide what to do.