Launching the PR Campaign
Two words: Thought leadership. Your goal is to look and sound smart and people will want to hire you. But, one thing I stress to my clients: you can’t be a thought leader if you don’t want to think. It’s the job of PR to tap your thinking and expertise and package it for the media and then ultimately share it with your target audiences.
Always remember: Facts Tell, But Stories Sell. Facts can be boring and bland, but stories get people involved and interested, so package your messages to the media in the form of stories.
- Frequency: Supply a continuous flow of stories to the press. Remember, it’s a process. Think of it as a marathon, not a sprint. You won’t become famous and known from the east to the west coast overnight. You need to feed the engine with lots of material, consistently, so that reporters get to know you, potential clients see your name frequently. This will build credibility over time. PR is not a quick fix strategy: it’s a process that you need to believe in, be an active participant.
- Align with New Business and Marketing: Think of PR as the machine that feeds your marketing and new business efforts. Links to articles should be shared with clients and prospects, posted on your website, distributed at speaking engagements, and included in all marketing materials. That what I refer to as closing the loop: making sure that you’re maximizing exposure.
- Engage at the Top: You also need buy-in and engagement from top management: thought leadership should be coming from the top.
- Integrate with Social Media. Finally, and we’ll get into this in greater detail shortly, make sure you integrate with all your social media channels.
- Don’t be self serving: remember, it’s not about you: it’s about what your target audience needs to be successful. Use your media outreach to show that you are smart problem solvers with great ideas. When in doubt, think of what your potential clients would want to read and make sure that your content passes the So What, Who Cares, What’s In It For Me test. The best PR campaigns offer sound advice, strategies and tips for your target audience.
- Don’t limit your media outreach to design media. Look for opportunities to contribute to outlets that your clients read and watch.
- Don’t Stop and Start. Keep momentum going: don’t stop and start or reporters will easily forget who you are. Consistent and frequent impressions build top of mind awareness.
If you are planning to hire a PR firm, here are some basic strategies: interview about 3-5 firms, make sure that they know your business. You don’t want someone to learn on your dime. Media relationships in this business are everything. Don’t let a PR firm tell you that they’ll establish them as you move along or let them blast out press releases over the wire services and call it a day. That kind of scattershot approach doesn’t work. Reporters will respond to PR practitioners who know the stories they like and know how they prefer to be communicated with. Finally, set measurable and realistic goals.
How do you measure success to make sure that you are being effective and achieving your goals? The ones that I think are the most meaningful are:
- Number of articles
- Share of Voice vs. Your competitors
- Message Penetration
- Sales/new business leads
- Website Traffic
- Over time: net new customers
In Part 3 I’ll discuss how to use social media to amplify your message further….