With a new year always come new goals—and likely one of those goals is growing your business. Sharing with the world what you do is a great way to accomplish this, but it isn’t always easy. Our world is noisy. There’s lots of competition. Media space is limited.
Instead of advising you hop on the latest public relations bandwagon, I wanted to share a fresh look at four traditional public relations tools.
The Press Release
The original purpose of the press release was to garner media attention. But today, press releases often don’t lead to big-time interviews, because the competitive media market doesn’t want to report on what everyone else is reporting on.
Yet press releases are still very important, in large part because they help build your brand. They officially mark important events and recognitions, and thus tell your business’ story. Investment in this tool is still worthwhile, but the goal is different. Posting releases on your website and sharing the news with your key audiences is as critical as sending them to the media.
You have a story to tell—but instead of trying to control the news cycle, insert yourself into it.
We call this “news-jacking.”
Media are always looking for different angles on a hot story or trend. Take advantage of this by quickly offering up your expertise in a popular area. In the pitch, include why you are an expert or worthy of commenting, and an example of what you might be able to say. Be sure to be available to them ASAP.
HARO and ProfNet, services in which reporters send queries looking for information for a story, are great ways to get in on the news cycle.
But the reporters often dig through hundreds of responses and only use a select few. Thus, respondents might think the work they put into the pitch is wasted if not used.
That’s not the case. Use these discarded responses to fuel your content marketing. Wait a month, then turn it into fodder for your site, blog, or newsletter.
The Media Pitch
While email is still the most preferred method of contact for media, many prefer social media outreach—(caveat!) after a relationship is built.
Target a few media contacts that really reach your audience, and follow them to get familiar with their interests and work. Then comment, like, and share about once or twice a week.
Public relations is all about relationships, and this tactic helps build rapport and get on their radar. Then, when you or your publicist pitch the media contact, they should recognize your name.
Taking a fresh approach or new look at these old PR standbys requires little money, time, or effort. Instead, a bit of creative thinking will go a long way in making 2018 the best yet for your business.
Whitney is the public relations director at WI. She started her career in communications as a TV news anchor/reporter in Virginia and Tennessee before switching to public relations. Whitney earned her bachelors in government at Georgetown University, and masters in PR from the University of Tennessee. She enjoys spending time with her family in Knoxville, TN, and running competitively.