Public relations is one of the most attractive marketing strands to fuel awareness of your business, and as entrepreneurial business leaders you are perfectly positioned to drive this utilizing your network and business story.
For every piece of coverage appearing on the BBC or in the Financial Times, there are hundreds of smaller more niche opportunities out there that might actually prove more suitable at reaching your audience. So here are The Nurture Network’s six tips for getting and handling press:
1. Use your little black book
Don’t be fooled into thinking that journalists only talk to high-priced PR agencies or celebrity entrepreneurs. Every journalist needs relevant and interesting content – you just have to create your content and find the right journalist.
Building your own press list is easy- there are hundreds of contacts on press websites and even some ready-made press lists available to buy. Alternatively connect with journalists and bloggers on social media, follow them on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn; make an introduction and strike up a conversation.
2. Think like a journalist
Journalists are in a performance measured high volume industry – they want only the most interesting, relevant and attention-grabbing articles so you need to cut through with catchy titles for both the article and email subject line.
When writing your content think like a journalist and draft your press release like a story that you’d want to read in their publication. The more writing and research you leave for a journalist, the less likely it is you get published, so include who, what, where and when in the opening paragraph, and keep it to less than 300 words!
3. Put you best bits on show
Make it easy for journalists to find information on you by creating a press section on your website. Include high-resolution images, logos and concise biographies for your team and business. Upload every press release to this section with landscape images as the majority of publications are online and a PC screen is…landscape!
Never use PDF’s for press releases – journalists want to cut and paste – it’s better to paste your announcement directly in to an email to save them the bother of opening an attachment. Be sure to include hyperlinks in the text with contact information at the end in case they need to get in touch.
4. Scream it from the roof-tops
If you have a top target in mind, offer them exclusivity but put a time limit by which you need to hear back! You can also consider distributing your press release through free or paid for platforms as these have a broad reach and with effective hyperlinks they are good for SEO.
Make sure you share content via social media to reach the largest audience and don’t be afraid to tweet directly or post it on the Facebook wall of relevant people or groups.
5. Talk or write for anyone of value who will listen
Anyone putting on an event or publishing a magazine or blog needs interesting content; so if you think you can add value on a certain topic offer to be a guest speaker or blogger but be prepared with what you want to say and why you are qualified to say it. ‘Thought leadership’ is an important way to build your own personal brand equity and to promote your business, so if you consider yourself an expert in a field, then you can also consider providing comments to local press or niche publications.
6. Don’t miss it
If you receive a press enquiry you want to be able to react quickly so make sure you’ve already prepared what you are going to say – keep it short and to the point – and have all the collateral (such as images and biographies) to hand.
To avoid missing opportunities, it is wise to make sure everyone in your business knows who is authorised to provide comment to the press, and what the hierarchy is if someone is unavailable. Being clear here is also key to avoiding any unwanted comments ending up on public view.
Christina Richardson is a business marketing specialist and Founder of The Nurture Network, the on-demand marketing department for ambitious SMEs. With a proven track record in leading high profile marketing campaigns for entrepreneurial brands, The Nurture Network are a partner of Growth Accelerator, helping high growth SMEs reach their potential through marketing and innovation.