Making Public Relations work for Entrepreneurs
Public relations is an essential part of marketing for any entrepreneurs because it brings visibility and credibility to your business. Getting featured in any sort of media outlet can result in more traffic to your website, and let people learn about you from a neutral perspective. Often times this can make a difference between acceptance and failure. Yet, getting the media’s attention can be a difficult task. Knowing how to tell your story and who to tell it to is half the equation. The other half is how not to be ignored, even with the perfect pitch and timing. One of the easiest ways to get a placement is when a reporter is looking for sources -- and every day, there are dozens of such requests. Still, one must consider that journalists are busy people. One of the best ways to get connected to reporters and others in the media is to follow local media on social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram. Connecting with and following reporters on social media is a great way to make them recognize you. Just remember there are some dos and don't for connecting.
But how to stand out and get reporters to pay attention? Here are a few tips:
1. Respond as early as possible. Make sure you get reporters attention first.
2. Avoid long introductions. Remember the key points of who, what, when, where and how.
3. Be clear. Don’t expect the author to be a expert like you, and don’t take anything for granted. Communicate your message clearly. Sometimes an template helps. Add headlines to improve readability, and highlight important keywords. You want to improve your chances for getting their attention by making it easy to read your main points.
4. Show what sets you apart. Why should they consider you in the first place?
5. Who do you know? If you are associated with big names in any way, it can bring more credibility to your project and saves the author some background-checking time.
6. Build rapport. Reporters are more likely to respond to people they know in advance.
7. Give them dibs. You may want to get your news out to everyone, but sometimes reports like having an exclusive story. If you have exclusive or embargoed news, it’s a good opportunity to use them now to secure the piece.
8. Pay attention to the reporter’s request and respond accordingly.
9. Be smart when emailing. Try to come up with a unique subject in your email. A unique title makes sure your email doesn’t get lost.
10. Keep it Short. Make sure you put the unique part of the subject as early as possible. Some email systems tends to cut off long subject lines.
11. Definitely use links. You want to give the reporter an easy way to find more information, and you want to make sure they find the info that supports your case best.
12. Direct is best. If you have a direct email from the reporter, using it will increase your chances of getting to a reporter and getting a response.
13. Follow up, but don’t push. Many responses actually come from the follow-up email. Add the word “Follow-up” to the subject to make the point clear as well as start a new thread, which makes the email stand out.
14. Give them access. Make sure you have whitelisted the reporter. Make it easy for reporter to stay in touch with.
15. Give credit. Don’t forget to mention who your comments should be attributed to.
16. Share proof. It’s not enough you mention “we are the best” -- the reporters need to see that. Share statistics, numbers and anything someone from outside of your company could use to independently verify the credibility of your claims. Getting an article written about your company in a local paper, business or trade journal can be a great way to get prospective customers and others from the media to notice you. If you need help with a press release, you can find people who write releases on Fiver.