Public Relations campaigns can be very pricey. If you are a start-up entrepreneur, you most likely cannot afford to hire a PR agency or create a PR department. So how in the world are you supposed to get the word out about your product, brand, or company? Well, I’m glad you asked because I am about to tell you. All you have to do is research, plan, create, and execute. Yes that’s right, you can create and execute a fantastic PR campaign with little to no budget using those four simple steps.
Step 1: Research
Research begins with researching your company, media outlets, and social networks. Now, I know it sounds silly to research your own company but what I mean is that you must know your business, product, or brand like that back of your hand. If you’re a tech company that just built a mobile app, you should know if the app can be used on iOS, Android, or Windows and whether or not users must pay to download it. Having extensive knowledge of your company will help you in creating your campaign because you’ll figure out what makes your company, product, or brand special or different which is a key item to gaining media exposure and a public following.
Once you’ve done research on your company and identified what makes it unique, you must now research the media outlets that cover your niche or market. This part is actually kind of fun because you basically have the opportunity to browse the web and read/watch great content. While reading various articles & watching news segments that cover your niche or market, you should start taking notes. Write down the names of writers or reporters who cover your niche or market, the media outlet name, also note the writer or outlet’s coverage style. Is the outlet comedy driven or are they more serious and thoughtful? Keep track of the notes as you’ll need them later.
Step 2: Plan
After researching media outlets, you now need to plan your approach. This is when you should begin writing a PR campaign plan. The PR campaign plan is a map of your PR campaign and it should have an origination point (i.e., how your company is currently seen in the public eye), where the company needs to be (your goals, strategies, and tactics), and a final destination (where your company is after the PR campaign which can be measured in various ways). I recommend checking out PRCouture.com– a blog about Fashion PR because PR Couture’s owner Crosby Noricks has an excellent template for a PR campaign plan. It is geared towards fashion but the format can be used for any niche or market. Also, check out PRDaily.com or mediabistro.com/prnewser for excellent PR advice.
Step 3: Create
Now that your campaign plan is written and your research is done, you must now create. For this step you’ll be creating press materials like press releases and/or a media kit, and pitch emails. If your goal is to land press mentions for your company then create a media kit with info on the company, its founders and staff, any special or unique facts, previous media coverage (if any), info on target customers, and your contact info. Keep the media kit to no more than 5-10 pages. If you are just looking to stay relevant, create and write a press release. Press releases should have an attention grabbing headline and be concise, well written, and engaging. If you’ve never worked with a certain media outlet, send a pitch email where you introduce yourself, your company, and your product or service. Pitch emails should be completely customized to who you are sending them to. When sending a pitch email, it usually helps to compliment the writer (to stroke their ego & get their attention), also figure out an “angle” for your pitch. An angle is if you’re an affordable fashion brand, pitch to a blog like The Budget Fashionista and talk about why your product is quality for half the price of your competitors.
Step 4: Execute
Finally, you are ready for the last and scariest step of PR…execution. Execution is scary because you have to…well, execute, lol. When you begin to execute the campaign, you should allot a certain date and time to send out your press release, media kit, or pitch emails. I recommend sending these items early in the morning (before 9AM) or at night (after 7PM) in the middle of the week (Tues or Wed). I realize those times are kind of a buzz-kill but hey you’re a start-up entrepreneur so you should be used to keeping crazy hours. Plus, if you’re serious about landing press, you need to get the media’s attention and those times are when no one is in the office so you aren’t competing with so many other emails. Tip: you can send press releases to many people at once but use the “BCC” option so no one knows who else received your release. Another tip: pitch emails are more likely to gain you press coverage because they are tailored to each outlet.
In conclusion, public relations is not easy but it is well worth your while. Press mentions validate your company or business by endorsing your product or service. In essence, they are necessary to get the word out about your company, product, or service. And with that, I bid you adieu, happy pitching!
LoudPen is a Blogger, Publicist, Social Media Strategist, Stylist, and Co-Owner of the multicultural talent agency, The NetworkFAM. Pen works with independent artists, fashion, beauty, and music brands through The NetworkFAM to provide public relations, event planning, social media marketing, blogging, and styling services. Visit www.thenetworkfam.com to learn more about The NetworkFAM. Pen also maintains two blogs: de la Pen and The Blogging PR Girl. Follow @LoudPen on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
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