The key to successful publicity is making sure that you have something that is newsworthy or informative. A good story sells copy, whether it is for newspapers or magazines, so you need to find an angle for your product or service and communicate it in the right way.
According to Paula Gardner from DoYourOwnPR.com, the success of your PR depends upon what you are selling. She says: "Products need an angle. Are they new, designed by someone unusual, made from something unusual? What makes them different? If you have an interesting human element, perhaps a story about yourself, thats always a great way to get media attention."
Alternatively, if you are selling a service, then its best to gear your PR campaign towards selling your expertise. Paula continues: "For someone selling services, article writing is effective, as this helps elevate you into an expert and shows your possible clients that you know what youre talking about."
Once you have your PR approach, consider how you will deliver your material to appeal to a journalist or editor.
Journalists prefer to receive background information before writing their story so its vital to have a good press release that will convey all the relevant information in a succinct and effective way. Try to keep your press release to one page and remember the story element. Include your contact information at the end along with details of any images that are available.
Write a series of "how-to" articles on your specialist subject which you can use to promote the services you offer. Write them to suit your target publication and audience. Remember to include your contact details at the end.
Specialist columns often appear in local newspapers. Take a look and see what opportunities are available. If you are a solicitor, perhaps you could write a regular legal advice column. If you are a fitness instructor, you could write a monthly fitness page.
Most regional newspapers are only too happy to include expert columns in the run of their papers to give an extra benefit to the readers and it is a most effective and free way of promoting your services.
Make sure you have suitable images available to promote yourself or your products. The more pictures you have the better, so that the publication has plenty of choice. Ensure that the images are of a high enough quality for reproduction.
If you have submitted a press release, many journalists will follow up with a phone call if they are going to use your story. They will be looking for quotes and additional information so make sure you are prepared for this. Have some quotes at the ready. Make sure that what you say adds value and relevant information to the publicity.
Dont assume that the journalist knows all the details. Be clear and precise. One good PR technique is to reiterate your services and products when appropriate each time you talk to a journalist.
Establish a press information pack
A press information pack will save you time when dealing with press contacts. Apart from your current press release, this will essentially provide information such as corporate background, biographies of senior personnel, product/service details, cases studies and company brochure.
This pack will also include images. This is useful in that journalists will have all the information they require and will be able to produce a more detailed report.
Paula Gardners advice to anyone preparing a PR campaign is: "Be realistic and set aside at least a morning or afternoon a week of uninterrupted time to do this. Keep up the momentum, and look upon it as a long term investment in your business."
If writing isnt your strong point then it does pay to hire a PR agency or invest in an in-house public relations officer.
Take advantage of all the opportunities that might come your way from the press. Getting press coverage is easy once you know how to implement an effective PR campaign. The better prepared you are, the more successful your publicity.