The Small Business Guide to PR
eBook - ePub

The Small Business Guide to PR

Plan and execute your first PR campaign in just 10 hours

Greg Simpson

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  1. 65 pages
  2. English
  3. ePUB (mobile friendly)
  4. Available on iOS & Android
eBook - ePub

The Small Business Guide to PR

Plan and execute your first PR campaign in just 10 hours

Greg Simpson

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Book preview
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About This Book

Put your lunch hour to use and learn how to create, manage and execute your own bespoke PR campaign in just ten days.- Get to grips with what makes a good story, learn how to contact journalists and build working relationships that get stronger with each new story.- Discover how to craft a press release, how to weave in your key messages and how to ensure that what you are doing with your PR is contributing to your overall marketing strategy.- Unlock the secrets of the professionals by spending a day in both camps - the journalist and the PR consultant.- Find out what it takes to give your story the edge above the hundreds of others competing for attention.- Listen in on a PR consultant's meeting with a key client so that you can understand the processes that are put in place and the strategies that are debated between client and consultant to ensure that every opportunity is flushed out, examined and maximised.- Hear case studies from small businesses that share the highs and lows of their own public relations campaigns so that you do not make the same mistakes.Let the author, who has over a decade of experience in running PR campaigns for everyone from multinational PLCs to not for profit organisations and start-up businesses, guide you through the same process that he uses to create professional and hugely effective PR campaigns.Learn how to create a PR campaign that delivers measurable, strategic results for your business and that allows you to refine and improve it every time you return to it.Create a PR strategy that evolves with your business and fits in with the way you work. Learn how to delegate tasks to individuals within your own team and what to outsource to the professionals.Discover how to get your story to stand out from the crowd through the use of clever photography - begin to 'think in pictures' as you learn how to become an asset to your target media.Set measurable goals and begin to evaluate the success of your campaign right from the beginning, arming yourself with information on what works or your business and what approach works best for you as the new head of PR in your business.Have fun! PR offers a huge variety of ways for you to communicate with your target audience.Discover inspirational ideas that will have you raring to go with your own PR campaign and all in the space of ten hours.

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Day 1. Congratulations

Congratulations my friend! Well done on your new promotion to PR Director.
From now on, whenever you read this book, I want you to imagine yourself in this role. I’m serious. It is time for you to put on another hat and start thinking just a little differently. If it helps, why not give yourself a new email address and job title to go with it: Head of PR, PR Director, Publicity Officer, Marketing and PR Manager – whichever feels natural to you.
If you put yourself in the right mindset then you will begin to notice opportunities all around you. You know what happens when you want a new car, don’t you? Come on, you see that model everywhere. Suddenly the world is full of Mini Coopers, Jaguars, Audis or if you are really into PR, probably Toyota Prius’s!
I want you to start thinking about PR in the same way.
Start to notice the news.
I mean really start to pay attention.
See how businesses and organisations have been getting their messages out and covered for free by the press. What have they done to secure that coverage?

What is PR?

I suppose we should start by quickly defining what it is we are up to here. So, what actually is public relations?
Let’s go straight to the top on this one and ask the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR):
“Public relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. It is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.”
Somewhat predictably for an industry body the definition is rather long-winded but it serves its purpose.
Note my highlights in bold. PR is about influencing opinion and action. It cannot on its own change behaviours. My quick definition for the purpose of this book simply boils down to this:
PR is about raising awareness.
That might be awareness of a cause, a new product, a new appointment, or an event. The list is endless but I do give an overview of what is potentially newsworthy and worth raising awareness about below.
I have also highlighted ‘planned’ and ‘sustained’. You can issue a press release with no real thought behind it but it probably won’t achieve much, especially with regards to any real marketing goals, if you haven’t taken the time to plan the overall campaign. You need to have a strategy in place first – and sustain it You cannot simply turn the PR tap on and off when it suits your needs. Sure, you can try, but you will find that PR works best when it has momentum behind it and your target media and the ‘publics’ that they disseminate information to have you on their radar more often.

How does it work?

As mentioned earlier, PR is about influence. In order to influence your target market we need to get to the people who influence them: the press. Suffice to say ‘the press’ in this book means the people that publish. (I’m not going to distinguish between online and offline as most things apply to both formats).
In essence, the press needs content. Their audience demand it. That’s why they buy the paper, read the websites or tune in to the programme. Every day, every hour, every minute, journalists are rushing around trying to find stories that their audience is interested in. They crave news as providers, just as much as we crave it as consumers.
So where does PR fit into this? Well, PR teams and consultants up and down the land are either responding to requests for comment from the media, or better still, offering proactive comment and stories to the media. Good PR practitioners don’t see their relationship with the press as ‘them v. us’, they see themselves more as partners in content provision.
Quite whether journalists share this view is another matter, but I’m confident that if PR practitioners across the country, be they in-house, agency or consultant, got the ‘partner’ mentality into their thinking then everyone would benefit hugely.
What we’re looking for then is a trade. The PR team gives the press a story, and in turn the press gives them a mention. The success and size of any coverage will largely depend on how relevant and timely the story or angle is.
So, to be successful with a PR campaign we need to blend our selfish motives of awareness with genuine, usable content that the press can work with to fill their pages or airtime.
It can’t be any old content though – it has to be newsworthy.

What is news?

I must stress that you cannot simply rehash stories from a couple of months ago, or seek to bring an old subject out from your winter PR wardrobe. The press is only excited about NEWS. The clue is right there in front of you: news.
Many organisations say that they do not have any news to share; they don’t feel they make anything or really do anything visible so they just crack on with the job in hand.
Hold on a minute though guys and girls, are you sure you have nothing newsworthy to share?
  • New products
  • New people
  • New services
  • New locations
  • New divisions
  • New milestones
  • New opinions
  • New partnerships
  • New results
  • New analysis
  • New events
  • New donations
  • New expansion
  • New approaches to a problem
There are so many different news hooks – you just need to think objectively. Imagine yourself as a reporter visiting your offices: What’s changed since we spoke last month? What’s coming up that will have an impact on you or your customers/industry? Tell me about the effect this will have.

Why bother with PR? Why not just buy an advert?

Firstly we need to define advertising v. PR. They are not the same thing and comparing them is not comparing apples with apples. Sure, PR is often less expensive and thus very suited to start-ups or those with smaller budgets, but I like to see it like this:
Advertising makes you aware of a message. PR helps you to buy into the message.
It is the third party testimony that editorial provides which makes the advertising or wider marketing campaign surrounding it easier to digest. If you hear about a company in the press and the reports were positive, then you see an advert urging you to buy, I’d wager that you would be more likely to do so. Conversely, if you saw a glossy ad for a business but had heard negative things about it in the press, I’m far less confident that you would start reaching for your wallet.
That is why it is so important to integrate your PR campaign into your wider marketing efforts. The various forces as a whole is much more powerful than the fragmented efforts of their individual parts.

On being selfish – who needs to see your message?

I have lost count of the number of times that people have asked me how they can get their story onto the BBC or into the national papers. Undoubtedly it is essential for some but all too often it is bordering on irrelevant or downright ill-advised for others.
Before you even begin to think about what you are going to write and which media you intend to partner with, take a step back and work out who you need to tell:
  • Who needs to see your message?
  • Who needs to know that you have a new widget that is twice as strong as any other widget on the market?
  • Who needs to know that you are committed to responsible environmental practices?
In short, who are your customers?
  • Where are they?
  • What do they do?
  • What do they need to know?
  • Where do they find out their information, i.e. what do they read/listen to/watch?
  • How do your competitors get their message to them?

Today’s Task

Jot down some answers to these questions. This short exercise will help you to build the foundations of your PR Plan so do give it some proper thought and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Day 2. Let’s Be Brief

Glad to have you back. Have you done your homework? Seriously, you will get far more out of this if you...

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