So you’ve decided that PR could help boost your business, increase enquiries and raise your reputation – great!
But for anyone new to the world of PR, knowing where to start can be a bit daunting. With so many messages to communicate, different audiences to reach and different channels to use, it’s vital to start with a plan and not to just dive in.
At the mia breakfast briefing on Friday 10 February, Lesley Whyte and Natalie Blachford from Custard Communications spoke about the secrets to successful PR, including a roundup of their top 10 tips for getting started.
1.Know who you are talking to
It’s essential that you know who your audience are, and where they are. If you want to target people booking large-scale pharma events, for example, they are probably not going to be reading the same magazines or using the same social media channels as couples looking for an intimate wedding venue. Once you know your audience, you can create a plan to specifically target them.
2. Define messages
Think about what the key messages are that you want to convey about your business. Define your USPs – those which really set you apart from the competition – and look for the stories within your business which best convey your core values.
3. Build a 12-month plan
PR isn’t just a one-hit wonder, it takes a strategic approach over a sustained period of time before you will start seeing results. Build a 12-month plan and make sure you have themes that run throughout, don’t do anything in isolation. Think about seasonality, booking lead times and publications schedules to inform your PR activity.
4. Capitalise on events
Events can generate a wealth of PR, before, during and after they take place. If you’ve got an exciting event happening at your venue, send out a press release to announce it, get conversation going on social media, share photos from the event, use it as a case study on your website or in an award entry – there are loads of benefits you can get from just one event!
5. Build a relationship with key media
The key titles read by your target audiences are important to build a relationship with. Don’t wait for a story to break – pick up the phone, introduce yourself, ask if they have any features coming up that they may want a contribution for. Show them that you value their publication by offering exclusives and show that you’ve read it by referencing specific features.
Awards can do so much for your business, from repositioning and reputation to boosting staff morale. As with media titles, think about your target audience and what awards they are likely to read about and care about, and look at what your competition is doing. Don’t forget the PR awards can generate – shout about your success!
7. Build profiles of key personnel
Celebrate the stars within your business. Stories about people can be the most engaging, so use your staff to talk about your key messages. Industry commentary can demonstrate expertise in your field, and stories about staff going the extra mile can demonstrate why your customer service is second to none.
8. Choose the right channels
Only use the channels that your target audience will also use – that includes media outlets as well as social media. It’s far better to concentrate your efforts in targeted areas than to spread resources too thinly, so as a rule try to stick to five digital media channels including your website – so if you’ve got your website, a blog, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, that’s plenty!
9. Measure and adapt
As Einstein said, ‘the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’. Make sure your PR activity is measurable, and then if it’s not working, adapt. You might have the right message that you’re trying to communicate to the right audience, you just need to tweak the way it’s presented to make it a success. Whatever happens, don’t give up just because your first attempt didn’t go as well as hoped.
10. Create a reason to visit the website
Your website should be the hub of all your online PR and marketing – it’s where you want to be driving people to for enquiries and bookings. Create content for your website that’s about more than just sales, content that entertains or informs or solves a problem; the key is adding value, and if you can do that then people will keep coming to you over your competitors.
To find out more about how clever communications can boost your business, visit www.custardcommunications.com