*Blog written by Hey Me’s PR & Communications Associate, Gemma*
I’d like to think that spending 20 years in an industry would give me the experience to have all the answers or tools I need to guarantee success in my field.
However, I work in the public relations industry.
As ‘PRs’ (Public Relation Professionals), we’re not only reliant on and limited by the strength and relevance of the news story, but also any outside, uncontrollable factors taking place at the same time that dominate the news cycle and may impact getting your client’s story out there.
The value of PR
While this may sound like investing in PR can be a risky business, on the flip side the impact of public relations coverage seen by a relevant target audience is so much richer than a paid for advertisement.
PR coverage and those column inches gained has added value due to the credibility of a journalist choosing to publish your story and putting their name to your news.
In this unpredictable and often uncontrollable environment, I wanted to explore how so many of us PR professionals are doing everything we possibly can to secure positive press coverage, and share some tips for those looking to achieve those coveted column inches:
Quality not quantity
It’s important to remember that judging results from PR activity shouldn’t be a numbers game and is not a ‘one size fits all solution’. It can be misguided to focus on the amount of coverage achieved and count the cuttings. It’s the quality of coverage achieved in key media, having the biggest impact on a target audience and in turn business objectives, that creates real and tangible value.
The best advice I was every given was to ‘think like a journalist’. Imagine your email inbox is full of press releases and invites to events and what gives yours the edge to stand out above the rest. Think about how you can grab their attention to not only gain coverage, but potentially capture the prime, coveted space above any other stories. Use the subject line of your email or pitch to captivate the media’s attention from the get-go, reinforcing what is in it for them should they publish your story.
Seek to build great relationships with your media targets so you can explore the potential of an exclusive with them. After all, a large, in-depth piece of coverage with them will achieve that higher quality coverage far more effectively than the same story covered by several less relevant titles.
Make sure to engage your internal team before sending out a big story and keep them informed of what’s happening and when. They should know exactly when a press release is being issued, what the news is and be ready to respond should media want more information or interaction with them.
Having competent and engaging spokespeople is imperative for any business who wants to raise its profile with the media. Ensure you have several spokespeople to draw from, even if that means investing in media training for a chosen few.
Make the most of social media. Push the news story through your social channels, alongside tagging relevant media, influencers, industry partners or stakeholders who may then share the news with their audience.
Build and maintain relationships with an army of supporters who are vocal and support you on social media. They can act as ambassadors and will enthusiastically shout about your brand, potentially bringing wider attention to your story.
If you have a strong story, consider if there are opportunities to expand on it with spin off releases further down the line to keep up momentum.
Invest in good photography and brand imagery. A strong, creative image can mean the difference between a column entry in the business section and a half page spread.
There are many ways you can increase your chances of achieving quality media coverage, but in my opinion, the most important factor is to be fully engaged in PR and believe the results can bring real benefits to your business.
That’s not only what we believe, but what we have demonstrated over the years. Public relations can be unpredictable but that’s what makes it an exciting industry in which to work in and incredibly valuable to businesses, big and small.