Get the Word Out With Public Relations
You’ve launched an amazing product or service. Now what? Now, you need to get the word out.
But you’re on a budget and can’t afford the $10K a month to hire a fancy agency and put out press releases. That’s fine. You’re better off executing you’re on strategy or hiring a really awesome consultant.
When done well, good PR can be much more effective and less expensive than advertising. For cost-conscious businesses, ROI is crucial. Every penny spent on marketing should generate revenue. PR is no different. Here are the steps you should take to form a successful strategy for your business:
1. Let go of the agency allure
The sad truth about PR is that existing process are broken. They’re outdated, costly, and inefficient.
To succeed with PR, you need to focus less on the appeal of an agency and focus more heavily to focus on results. Prioritize what you want to achieve, not outdated ‘best practices.’ If you want to get in front of journalists, for instance, you are likely better off forming 1:1 relationships than bombarding them with irrelevant pitches.
2. Know When to Use a Press Release
A press release is worthwhile if your announcement is over-the-top catchy and newsworthy. But here’s the thing — most press releases read like giant sales pitches. If you think that journalists and publishers are going to be attracted to lukewarm content, guess again. They’re not. They don’t care. Their email inboxes fill up with 100s of spam messages again.
We hate to say it but marketers — get your head out of the clouds. The world does not revolve around your business, and journalists could care less about what you have to say.
If your goal is to get targeted placements for your brand, you will be better off cultivating a unique and thoughtful pitch in your area of specialty. A press release won’t cut it. Position your organization as a valuable, reliable, and trustworthy source of information instead.
3. Focus on Building Relationships and Making Connections
The problem with PR is ‘spray and prey’ or ‘broadcast’ mentality. If you shout at journalists with a megaphone, they’re not going to listen.
Above all, journalists care about compelling stories. They want to hear about your founders’ emotional journeys. They want to know what problem your company is solving and what motivates your team to wake up and come to work in the mornings.
Treat journalists like trusted business partners, not eyeballs. Develop a conversation. Let them ask questions.
Strategic Planning Wins the Race
Every so often, you’ll come across startups that generate insane amounts of traction on almost zero budget. You might think that it’s the outcome of luck — most likely, that isn’t the case. The more likely scenario is careful, strategic planning. WIth online media, Hollywood success stories are few and far between. Behind the scenes, marketers are hard at work — building key relationships with key stakeholders.
Karen X Cheng founded Dance in a Year, a platform that helps users learn anything in a year.
Karen learned to dance in a year and videotaped her entire journey. The outcome was an amazing video that went viral on YouTube. In just a few short months, her video has amassed millions of views. She makes the experience of learning to dance look seamlessly easy. She makes the process of making a viral video look pretty darn easy too.
That’s how you know that she put some real muscle behind the process.
Karen also leveraged her video to connect with potential sponsors and stakeholders in her project. These included companies like Lululemon and American Apparel – two organizations that she was happy to support. Some of these companies supported Karen and shared her video on their social networks too.
She also released her video on Tuesday, guessing that on Monday, people are most likely to be catching up on emails from the weekend.
Use Public Relations Tools
The problem with PR is that the supply/demand ratio is completely imbalanced. PR seekers are constantly spamming writers, journalists, and bloggers for attention.
A service called Help a Reporter Out (HARO) can help to alleviate some of this crunch. Using this service, journalists can find sources to interview for upcoming stories. People seeking PR can monitor journalist queries and join the conversation where they’re qualified to contribute.
You can sign up for a simple e-mail digest that looks like this:
Here is what it’s like using HARO as a journalist:
For some queries, they’ll receive 50+ responses and most of the pitches I get are totally irrelevant. They make the journalist jump through hoops to get the information they need.
The thing to know about journalists is that they’re incredibly strapped for time and working under short deadlines.
From a journalist’s perspective, here are some tips for making your HARO query stand out:
Use Tools To Save Time
Save yourself the time and hassle of combing through spreadsheets and sending hundreds of emails. Use tools that have been developed to solve your exact pain point — scale with limited resources.
One example resource is BuzzStream — a CRM (customer relationship management) platform that helps PR professionals build relationships, monitor conversations, and maintain historical records of conversations with PR and media platforms.
BuzzStream lets you automate mundane tasks like saving information about key contacts and partners. Teams can also collaborate on initiatives and delegate outreach tasks.
Collaborate With Other Business to Boost Your PR
Content marketing means that brands are becoming publishers and building their own audience bases. Companies, like you, are looking to connect with key audiences through PR and distribution.
Team up with fellow-business blogs who are looking to reach the same audiences as your organization. There are two ways to get going — guest post on industry blogs, or invite others to create content for your blog.
Grasshopper, a virtual phone system for entrepreneurs, uses its blog as a platform for giving props to their best customers. The company has a “submit your story” program and will write about their customers who have something awesome to share. For Grasshopper, PR is an invaluable way to say “thanks” to their trusted business partners.
Give Samples of Your Product or Service
One way to get press coverage is to give away trials or samples of your product or service. Reach out to prominent journalists and bloggers, and ask if they would be open to doing a product review. Give them a free trial or sample to try.
Always Say Thank You
When a journalist, blogger, or fellow business writes about you or your company — reach out and say thank you. Offer yourself as a resource for future stories. Position your organization as a company that wants to return the favor and help.
PR is, first and foremost, about building relationships. To the best extent that you can, maintain a personal touch. Take journalists out to dinner as a ‘thank you’ (not a bribe) for writing about you.
Show that you are grateful, and you’ll stand apart from the crowd of people who aren’t. Add value to your industry — don’t extract it. Pay it forward whenever you can. Connection karma, and you never know when something small will materialize into something much, much bigger.
via Quick Sprout http://bit.ly/UU7LJr
April 22, 2019 at 03:03PM