One of the most effective ways to expand your business, and bring in more customers, is by creating a better PR strategy. When you have a solid strategy in place, you'll garner more attention in the media, building a buzz around your business that didn't exist previously.
There are many different PR strategies you can use, but the key is coming up with a winning strategy that will work for your specific business.
Evaluate your current PR strategy
If you've been using a PR strategy for your business without seeing much in terms of results, take some time to evaluate that strategy. Try to figure out why it hasn't connected like you originally thought it would.
Is it because:
- Your PR campaigns aren't targeted at a specific audience?
- Your PR campaigns aren't creative enough?
- Your PR campaigns are aimed at the wrong kinds of publications and media outlets?
If you have an unsuccessful PR strategy on your hands, there has to be a reason (or in most cases, a few different reasons) for why it's not working.
By finding out where you went wrong, you can avoid making more PR mistakes in the future.
Create PR goals for your business
PR strategies can fail if companies don't have clearly-defined goals in mind.
They choose a goal that's extremely broad like, "We want to generate as much media interest in our business as possible."
While that's an admirable goal, it's also difficult to attain because it's so broad. For one business, getting one or two write-ups in a newspaper might be a PR bonanza. For another, a dozen write-ups in newspapers and blogs could be a complete and utter failure.
Use the SMART approach to goal-setting when it comes to PR and create goals that are:
For example, say something like, “Within the next 2 months, we want to obtain at least 50 media placements for our product.”
A PR goal like that will make it very clear what you're hoping to accomplish. It'll put everyone within your company on the same page, and increase your chances of launching a successful PR strategy.
Furthermore, in order to hit your PR goals, you need to know who the target audience for your products and/or services is.
You might be surprised at how many businesses try to target everyone with their products, only to come up painfully and predictably short when trying to reach that goal.
By identifying your target audience, you can hone in on where you need to use your public relations strategy. You'll have a much better chance of launching successful PR campaigns when you know the demographic you want to hit.
To go along with that, make sure that you are identifying the publications your target audience are reading, and get your campaign into those publications. It doesn’t make sense to target a publication about beauty tips, if the people you are trying to reach aren’t reading it.
Key messages and PR tactics
Key messages are the messages you want to deliver to your target audience so that they know exactly what your business is all about and what you stand for.
When you have strong key messages in place, they'll help you connect with your target audience more effectively.
The key messages you create for your business should be a blend of believable, credible and succinct. They should let others know almost everything they need to know about you quickly.
Next, devise a list of the PR tactics you're going to use to make your strategy a success.
There many tactics you can utilize to carry out your strategy. For example, you might want to:
- Distribute press releases about your products and/or services on a regular basis
- Send out email newsletters about what you offer
- Set up social media campaigns designed to let your target audience know about your products and/or services
- Put together blogs on your website that explain the benefits of working with you
- Pitch story ideas about your products and/or services to journalists, bloggers, and other media members who work for outlets tailored to the interests of your target audience
Some companies see a great return when they focus on churning out press releases every few days. Others benefit greatly from pitching story ideas to those who run successful blogs.
Once you’ve done that, set a deadline for when your strategy should be completed and stick to it. It will help you stay on track, and allow you to track your progress, something you need to stay on top of so you can make adjustments accordingly.
Adjust your strategy if you notice weaknesses
If there are certain things not working with your PR strategy, you should feel free to make adjustments to it.
Have you sent out 100 press releases and only received one or two media write-ups because of them? Reconsider how you're writing them up and who you're sending them to.
Even the best PR strategies don't always work, but they will pay off if you roll with the punches and adjust them accordingly.
At the end of the day, there is no guarantee that a PR strategy is going to attract new customers, or make you more popular among those in your target audience.
Don't let that stop you from trying your best to maximize media exposure for your company.
Jason Hall, author, founder and CEO of Five Channels Marketing