The basics of creating a PR strategy, which will go to the heart of your marketing and support everything else you are doing, is to first really focus on who is your target audience. And then secondly, to focus on what media do THEY read/watch/listen to/play/have around them.
Once you have worked out the answers to these questions – which seem straight forward, but often cause us a lot of sweat sorting out – then the strategy can be attacked!
The target audience is very important as you need to know exactly what media you are going to approach with your story, getting those journalists to talk about you and your business. PR is all about telling the world how marvellous you are … WITHOUT boasting!
It’s communicating through third party endorsement – i.e. via a journalist writing about you – not you shouting out your story yourself.
See the difference?
This is why it is really important to spend your time getting a clear picture of the person you want to buy your particular service or product.
- What do they look like?
- What do they wear?
- Where do they shop?
- What newspapers and magazines do they read?
- What TV do they watch and radio do they listen to?
- Do they have children and what do they do in their leisure time?
- And so forth.
If you can work out exactly what these people do and how they spend their time, you will be able to formulate a very precise message to them and put it out through the most appropriate media … which is a major element of a PR strategy.
The other element, which is harder to learn, is to be an efficient communicator and top networker. PR is all about getting contacts, keeping contacts and working them to your advantage – in a pleasant way, of course.
Once you have worked out who your target audience is then it’s time to put yourself into their shoes and really hone down what they read/watch/listen to and do! Only when you do this will you have an idea of where your PR should be focused.
Preparing a winning PR strategy takes careful focus and real understanding of what you are doing with your business, what you want to say to your target audience and where you are heading with it.
Therefore I would suggest the following headings should be thought about and answered:
- What is the nature of my business?
- Whom am I targeting with it?
- What are the objectives of my PR/marketing campaign?
- What is the target media with whom I want to become connected and eventually be seen as an expert commentator?
- What message am I going to deliver to this target media (it may well be different to each type of media)?
- Are there any national special days/weeks relevant to your business that you can target for potential press coverage?
- Are there any local events you could get involved with?
- How am I actually going to reach that target audience through the media that THEY watch/listen to/engage with?
The last question will be answered by the actual work you set aside to do the job. And in your PR strategy this can be set out in the form of a timeline.
For example, in this timeline you will have the press releases and sound bites you envisage writing, the press you are going to call and the way you are going to develop relationships with them, the events you are going to organize, the sponsorships and alliances you are going to set up, the networking events you are going to go to, the speaking opportunities you are going to set up and so on.
These areas need careful planning too. Perhaps your PR strategy needs to include that you are going to need some training in the proper use of the various elements of social media – Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
I recommend that you treat social media as the online version of your usual face-to-face networking – i.e. deploy the same tactics and strategies that you use when you are networking at events and meetings.
Social media is networking without having to put on smart clothes and make up! So the rules of networking apply and should be put into your PR strategy.
These rules are:
- You need to know exactly who you want to talk to, what they are talking about and interested in, and then engage and communicate with them.
- Don’t try and sell to them – just exchange information, be interesting and helpful and know what keep checking with yourself what your agenda is for being in this networking situation.
- Don’t waste your time with people who are not going to help your business and concentrate your time and attention on those with whom you are likely to be able to engage and work with.
Finally, it is very important to set a budget for this part of your marketing. PR is not as expensive as other forms of marketing, but there are some costs involved …particularly your time if you decide to take on this yourself.
However, the typical value of press coverage, written by a journalist, therefore giving you that third party endorsement, is 500 times the cost of an advertisement!
And that is a great return on investment!
What do you think about PR? Do you take on this marketing strategy in your business?
Would love to read your thoughts so please take a moment to leave a comment below.
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This article has been contributed by Guest Expert – Lucy Matthews
Known for her three E’s (energy, enthusiasm and expertise) Lucy has a unique approach to PR, helping business owners tell the world how marvellous they are without boasting!
Through her PR consultancy, www.MarvellousPR.co.uk, Lucy has a proven track record, having worked for nearly 30 years for clients ranging from computers to Tabasco sauce, accountants to therapists, property to mosquito spray.