Yesterday JournoLink sponsored PR expert Amanda Ruiz's masterclass, aimed at helping entrepreneurs and businesses reach more clients using the power of PR. The evening was filled with great PR tips, networking with brilliant businesses and a chance to pitch to freelance journalist Helen Croydon.
Starting with Richard Branson’s famous quote, “Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad”, Amanda developed in the three most common mistakes business owners make when creating a PR plan.
Below we’ve listed these mistakes and Amanda’s top tips on how to overcome them.
1. Fear of self-promotion
Are you the best-kept secret? Asked Amanda. Many businesses owners have amazing products and services, however, fear to promote themselves and to contact the media. Yet, this fear will often stand in the way of a business owner getting the media coverage they desire.
Before even creating your PR plan every business owner needs to gain the confidence to talk about their company. As the founder you are the best person to do this, you know everything there is to know and have expert knowledge about your industry. It just comes down to acknowledging this and having the confidence to tell other people.
Now, being confident in promoting your business doesn't mean you need to be an expert salesperson. It means you need to be able to speak to the journalist as a human being, tell them exactly what you do in a clear-cut manner and be helpful. Amanda stated that self-promotion should be an 80/20 split. 80% helping others and 20% pushing yourself.
2. No press hook
When contacting the media or sending a press release many business owners do it on a whim rather than pre-planning, often seeing few or no results. This is because they haven't given the journalist a press hook i.e. why would they cover this now? What makes this relevant to the news today?
As a business owner, you need to be constantly up-to-date with the hot topics and trends in your industry sector and the wider business news. Ready to contact journalists at the drop of a hat to contribute your comments. For example, earlier this week Sainsbury’s announced a merger with Asda. Not long after the Forum of Private Business sent a press release calling on Sainsbury’s to provide assurances to its supply chain, securing them coverage on the BBC, Focus World News and Business Link.
Now, this doesn’t need to take you away from your everyday work, Amanda suggests having the radio on in the background or setting up news alerts on your phone, meaning you can keep an eye on the news without having to stop the running of your business.
3. Going in cold
How would you feel if someone pitched to you knowing absolutely nothing about your business or what you do? Well, this happens to journalists on a daily basis, meaning they can often waste their time reading an irreverent pitch and you waste your time writing it.
Before contacting a journalist you need to do some research on the subjects they write about and the type of features they produce. During the masterclasses ‘Pitch Clinic’ freelance journalist Helen Croydon described how she often writes about health and fitness, meaning she receives a lot of offers to review products in her articles, however, if you read Helen’s articles you will release that she doesn’t write product reviews, automatically making these pitches redundant.
Making it incredibly important that you read their previous articles, understand their style of writing and take a look at their social media profiles, a ‘light stalk’ can help your small business PR and make the difference between the journalist reading your email or deleting it straight away.
By overcoming these 3 common mistakes it will help you have the confidence and knowledge to take control of your own PR. If you would like to hear more of our business tips or would like more information about how you can get more media coverage for your business, sign up for our email updates here.
Written By: Camilla Holroyd, Media Relations Manager