After 20 years in the PR business you get more than a “feeling” of what works and what doesn’t. Below are the six steps that I’ve determined are essential to a successful PR campaign:
- Develop a Strategy: The first step to success is knowing what your goals are. You must first set your sights on the kind of exposure you want, which media outlets you want exposure in; and, mostly importantly, what message you want to get out there about your product or service.
- Positioning: The most important part of this step is figuring out your company’s positioning. What differentiates your product from competitors? Do you have a proprietary technology – something that no one else has? Are you a pioneer in this product or service or are you improving upon a product/service that is already out there? These are all questions that need to be answered in your positioning statement.
- Media Targeting: Once you have your positioning statement you will need to figure out what media you want to target. The most important aspect of this is getting to know each media outlet’s focus and that of its individual editors. An obvious example is that you won’t be targeting car magazines if you are a beauty company. Less obvious are finding the right editors within publications that feature several industries such as a newspaper. Each journalist will have a beat and you have to find the right reporter with the beat that fits your product.
- Press Release: Press Releases are great for getting some instant press. Most press release distribution services like PRUnderground.com, BusinessWire and PRNewswire, send your releases to hundreds of media outlets in a particularly market sector, simultaneously. You can instantly score hits on Google News, Yahoo, Forbes.com and other online media outlets. The press release also serves informational purposes for pitches. Make sure you copy the text of the press release into an email instead of including as an attachment as most media outlets will flag emails with attachments as spam. And finally, always link your releases to your social media accounts.
- Once you have targeted individual editors as above, and have identified their area of interest, you will want to construct a well-written, pithy and interesting pitch to grab their attention. The most important part here is to be short and sweet. You only have the first two to three sentences to grab their attention. And don’t forget the subject line. This is actually the most important as they won’t open the email if the subject doesn’t catch their eye.
- Follow up, follow up, follow up. Once you send your amazing pitch email, the next step is to follow up in a couple of days with a phone call. Most editors don’t like to get calls so make sure you know their particular “pet peeves.” Most subscription media databases and the lists on HandleYourOwnPR.com will have a comments section with helpful tips including their contact preferences. And be careful not to be too aggressive and aggravate the editor. There’s a fine line between persistence and persistence to the point of annoyance. Be professional always and respect the editor when they say they are not interested; and ALWAYS thank them for their time.
- Finally, once you have interest from an editor make sure you provide everything they need for the story. Sometimes they need more information than what is provided in a press release or will require an interview. You should also have great lo and hi res images available to send at a moment’s notice.
With this strategy, you should have a winning formula for PR success.