It’s all well and good to want to get publicity for your business, but where do you start? Well the first, and perhaps one of the most important things you need to do, is prepare. In order to run a campaign effectively, you will need to have the following:
Goals - What are you hoping to achieve? Have a think about what you really want to get across and who you want to hear your messages.
Media release - make sure you have identified the angle/s that you think will make your story newsworthy. Then write up a media release, following the format we have detailed on our website. You just need to make sure you have your media release ready to go - in electronic format as well as printed versions to send out with samples.
Media contacts - you will need some up to date media contact lists before you get started. Remember the wider you cast your net, the better response you should get. Identify your target markets (i.e. who will buy your products or service) - and then create some media lists that target those customers. Of course, we sell contact lists on our website, but if you have the time, many of the contacts can be found online or via some phone calls to the various media outlets so let nothing stand in your way!
Photography - this can be crucial to the success of the campaign. Some good quality, hi-resolution (1-2MB) jpegs will make a big difference to the media. Ideally you will need at least one or two ‘lifestyle shots’. By this we mean that it shows your product or service ‘in use’. It might be a shot of a child riding the scooter you want to publicise, or a customer undergoing your beauty treatment or wearing your jewellery or accessories. You will also need them as low-res images for the email you send out to the media. If they are interested in using it, they will ask you to send them a hi-res version.
Samples - if the media are interested in your product or service then it is likely that they will want to experience it for themselves. You will need to allocate some stock to send out to the media as samples. Be aware that these are often not returned unless they are of a very high value. If your business is service-based, then work out a way to let a journalist try the experience for themselves. You may also want to set aside some vouchers/stock for promotional purposes. Often the media will be happy to run a competition for their readers or viewers, in return for prizes. This can be a cost effective way to get coverage.
Website/list of stockists - you will need to make sure that your website is up to date and that you are happy with the content before you start to tell the world about it! If you sell your product or service from the site, then make it easy for the media to see the prices and the availability. If you sell your product from retail stores, then have them listed or offer a phone number that people can ring to find their nearest stockist. Remember that if you are targeting customers nationally, the national media will be receptive. If it is local, then the local media will want to know.
Lastly, but definitely not least, you will need a biography (background information) about the person who will be available for interviews - whether this is yourself, an expert in the field or someone else you have nominated. Before you get interviewed on radio or TV (and sometimes in magazines), it can be handy to have a short biography to send through to the journalist so they have an idea about the business and can formulate some relevant questions to ask you. Okay, so once you have all that together, you are just about ready to start your own PR.
Jules Brooke is the founder and owner of www.handleyourownpr.com.au, a website set up to help small businesses
run their own PR campaigns. On the site she offers loads of free PR tips and advice as well as selling media
contact lists. Jules also has Handle Your Own PR websites in the UK and the USA.