Business plans for the new year are now being pulled together with sales targets that will need all the help they can get if they are to be achieved.
19 out of 20 of buying decisions now rely on customer and brand recommendations, a trend that has been accelerated by the increase in online purchases during the pandemic. Sales are becoming almost totally reliant on what both customers and trusted commentators say about the product and brand.
A critical component of the marketing plan is now media engagement, whether through social media or traditional PR. Both have their part to play in engaging with independent commentators, and neither can be ignored.
Many entrepreneurs have grown up with the developing social media landscape, but traditional PR still carries a bit of the ‘dark arts’ banner, is seen as expensive, and out of reach.
All wrong. Journalists are completely accessible, news release distribution is straightforward and the cost of running an effective PR strategy need not be a blocker for any entrepreneur.
So what are the secrets of planning a winning PR strategy?
Think like a journalist.
Without good stories for their columns they are out of business. They are genuinely hungry for entrepreneurial news and successes. But they do want ‘news’, and not simply ‘pitches for free advertising’.
Work at it.
See ‘advertising’ as ‘paid coverage’, and ‘PR’ as ‘earned coverage’.
Good PR comes from delivering relevant content at the right time.
This doesn’t have to make the exercise onerous. It just needs focus.
Make the most of the available online tools.
There are several online platforms at different price points. Choose the one that is most user friendly for you, is easy to navigate and distributes to the journalists that you want to target. JournoLink has been built for entrepreneurs looking for a platform that has all the PR components that are likely to be needed and is priced for budget conscious businesses.
Treat PR as a key part of the marketing mix and stick to a plan ensuring that regular news releases are distributed.
Getting a brand name recognised by a journalist is no different to getting it recognised by a consumer. The more it is seen, the more likely it is that an interest will be shown in it.
Particularly now, as entrepreneurs navigate their way round the new business environment and position themselves for the future, there is interest from all areas of the media in their stories. And in terms of winning the all-important mentions and recommendations that will lead to sales, the more journalist friends a business can cultivate, the better.