Ready to launch your business, but lack the budget for an ad campaign? PR is a low-cost, high-impact way to build name recognition and early sales. You can reach virtually any audience, and PR often confers greater credibility than advertising.
Here are five tips to creating your own successful PR campaign:
1. Tell a compelling story. Major media outlets receive hundreds, even thousands, of press releases daily. The fact that your business is opening at a particular location, for example, isn't especially interesting. Go beyond the ho-hum and tell a story that engages the media and your audience. How will your new company benefit the community or your prospects? Decide what you want your audience to remember about your company, then create a story that communicates why your prospects should care.
2. Choose the right media. No matter what story angle you pursue or whom you're trying to reach, there's a media outlet that can help you achieve your goal. Your press list doesn't have to be long--choose only the media that reach your best prospects and feature editorial or advertising for the type of product or service you market. For help building your list, visit the free searchable media database at Gebbie Press. And don't overlook online media, which can be extremely influential.
3. Tailor your pitch. As you build your press list, familiarize yourself with each of the media and the work of the specific journalists you're targeting, then tailor your release or pitch letter accordingly. Once you know the type of information or story ideas a media outlet or journalist is looking for, you can grab their attention by using the right statistics or newly released information as your hook. A home health care company, for example, might lead off with a headline relating the number of Americans who go to nursing homes each year that could use home health care instead.
4. Use media relations tactics. Effective PR takes dedicated attention over time to build relationships with the media. However you send your initial release, consider it just a knock at the door. For an effective media relations campaign, follow up by phone or e-mail (depending on the preference of the media you're targeting) within a couple of days to make your pitch.
5. Make it easy to cover you. Have a complete press kit ready to send to the media that express interest in your story. This can include anything relevant, from product spec sheets to background on your company. Just don't overload the kit--and never include sales materials. Editors and journalists are notoriously short on time, so create ready-to-use materials such as tip sheets--"10 Ways to Save Money at Tax Time" or "7 Steps to a Healthy Lawn." Also, small newspapers often have holes to fill at press time and are happy to receive high-quality photos.
Begin your PR rollout just prior to launching your company, and maintain a well-targeted media relations campaign that reaches out with enough frequency to get you noticed. You're sure to win positive coverage for your new business.