ANYONE can run a slick advertising campaign if he or she is willing to pay for it. The trick is to get that kind of exposure without breaking the bank.
Such is the allure of public relations – the discipline of shedding a benevolent light on a person, company or cause, mainly by tapping the news media.
The press is a powerful force. Clearly, Amazon.com and Google offer great services, but appearing in some 13,000 news articles around the world in the last 30 days helps get the word out too.
And depending on the outlet and nature of the story, PR offers a potentially huge benefit that advertising does not, which is third-party approval.
Choosing an agency
There are a lot of PR agencies out there and some of them aren’t great at what they do. But the good ones serve a vital function and can take your business to greater heights, or at least generate some nice buzz.
One place to start looking for help is the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA), which lists member agencies in each state and territory.
Once you’ve narrowed the field, interview them. Push them to offer a tangible strategy and try to estimate their ability to execute.
Some key questions you ask are: which publications should I be targeting? What storyline will gain the most traction with each outlet? Can I speak with other clients? Who are some of the reporters with whom you have established relationships and might I be able to speak with them?
PR types often promise more than they can deliver, so manage your expectations. Some firms trot out senior executives at initial meetings only to stick less-experienced staffers on smaller accounts. So make sure you meet the people who will be doing the actual work.
When it’s time to talk money, request a menu of services and prices. Some firms charge by the hour,and others offer a la carte services, say, for running a special event or triaging a corporate mishap.
Before you write any checks, set some performance yardsticks. While PR remains a squishy science there are ways to loosely measure progress. The most common is the number of media references to your company in a given month. But there are subtler metrics, too, such as how many of your “core messages” were expressed in each article written about you.
And remember, no matter how many times your company appears in the press, always ask your customers, either in person or through your website, how they heard about you. PR is an ongoing effort, and it needs constant tweaking.
Rather save the money and handle your own PR? For starters, you’ll need a press kit. Most of that material will end up in reporters’ garbage bins, but some of it might grab their attention.
The kit should include a clear description of your business and its goals, as well as a backgrounder on you – complete with compelling, relevant anecdotes worthy of a yarn.
It should also contain copies of any media coverage you have received, testimonials from important customers and awards you have won. If there is an important technical aspect to your product, include an easy-to-follow description of how it works and why anyone needs it.
Applying for a business award never hurts, either. Like positive news stories, awards confer credibility.
Article from news.com.au by Lisa LaMotta
Sydney Public Relations Agency, CP Communications provides specialist media, traditional and online PR strategies that get amazing results. Contact us today. For more great tips visit our website www.cpcommunications.com.au.