Getting great PR as a small business requires skills very similar to those we use in social networking and party situations. It’s not rocket science, we all have those skills, we just need to remember what they are.
Identify your key target media
The first rule of doing well at a party is to know who is there, and what their interests are. You can’t engage without a handle on who you are engaging with and what they think. So with PR you have to know what the key media are in your industry, and which journalists are influential in defining what is talked about in that industry.
They are not difficult to find; a quick Google search for the top 10 media or top 10 journalists or influencers in any sector will surface the people you need to listen to and monitor via social media and their websites. You will learn about their tone of voice, their obsessions, their hates and their loves; crucial when it’s time to send them news.
You can also engage with them on the social media. Read more about how to do that here.
Find out what is on the news agenda
So we know who the runners and riders are at the party, we know what their slants and interests are, the next thing is to listen to what they say for a while and find out more about their latest escapades, anecdotes, scares and great successes. The best way to listen at any party is to ask questions because people love to talk about themselves.
Likewise in PR, you read the output of your target media, their journalists and their influencers. What features are they running? At what time in the year? What examples do they use to illustrate their points? Who do they quote? All media publicise their output on twitter and other social media, and within a week you’ll have got a flavour of what is trending in your sector and what is on the news agenda.
Now and only now are you ready to enter the conversation.
Have a narrative that tells what is unique about you
Before attending the party, you would have formed a picture of who you are and how you project yourself. In PR terms this means you have a ready-made narrative, a story to tell about how you meet your customer’s needs, what’s unique about the way you do it, with examples of how you have made customers happy and got rave reviews.
Think of this as a kind of elevator pitch which tells the generic story of what you do and why customers need or rave it. It’s better to tell people what you actually do than just give it a professional label. You use the label at the end to confirm your professional credentials. Thus, it’s great to say I help clients raise finance, I help clients do their taxes and end with I’m an accountant. Promote what you do not what you are!
Develop exciting news angles
We know who is at the party, what they are interested in and talking about and we have a compelling narrative about why we are relevant at this party. Now share it. Remember, everyone hates a show-off, but everyone loves a person who leaves them more knowledgeable or informed. When you share your news it’s the insights you share that the media is interested in. You don’t have to make these up. You’re already working successfully in your industry you’re seeing the trends come and go.
You’ve seen train wrecks in your sector and you’ve learned what flies and crashes. Share these insights, and the media will love you. Your news needs to tell journalists something that is relevant to the news agenda but unexpected in that others have not uncovered that snippet of knowledge yet. Above all don’t make your news a sales pitch, all media hate sales pitches.
Failures and struggles can also be a good story to share to get coverage. Find out why in our blog post about how to get coverage without sharing your success story.
For example, a food client is opening new premises that will remove the major barrier to entry to the food industry. The news he needs to share is the fact that he is about to disrupt the food business. Focus on that and use the expansion of the premises in this case to tell the disruption story.
Find killer quotes
Finally, to do well at a party everyone needs killer anecdotes, ones people remember and retell. In PR terms you need great quotes that paint a picture with just a few words and make your news memorable. January 8th was #MicroBizMattersDay Day promoting micro business in the UK. I said to several media “If the economy was a democracy, microbusinesses would be in power!” They loved it and got the point that microbusiness deserved more attention.
The five points above are what you should follow to get great media attention, whether you run your own business or not, it's time to start building your brand reputation today.
Written by: Tetteh Kofi, Brand Ambassador
Tet is passionate about helping startups build their relationships with the press, and with his journalistic experience, works each day towards bridging the gap between the two. If he's not speaking on the radio or at our next PR workshop, you'll find him tweeting on Twitter about marketing, business, politics and more.
This article first appeared on UKBusinessForums.co.uk.