Public relations (PR) helps a business to establish and maintain a positive public image for its brand. Effective PR includes strategies for capturing the attention of a target audience through avenues that do not require direct payment. Effective dialogue is at the heart of this mode of communication.
Thousands of companies of various sizes conduct PR campaigns every day with little to no investments. Whether you’re a small business owner, an entrepreneur, or the head of a large conglomerate, PR can help your business to level the media playing field and even stand out against your competitors. However, to excel in PR, you will need a set of effective practical skills and strategies designed to enhance your company’s reputation.
If done correctly, public relations can help you meet your marketing goals for a fraction of the cost of paid advertising. The ability to be creative in your messaging is also crucial to PR success. In a nutshell, the content you put out there as part of your public relations should be newsworthy. More importantly, this content should effectively communicate the brand message. You can achieve this by engaging in a series of activities that are both planned and consistent.
PR vs. Marketing
PR is often confused with marketing or advertising. Both are related to trying to help a company gain visibility, they cover very different activities. However, there are four main differences between PR and marketing. These are appeal, control, credibility, and repetition.
First of all, your public relations efforts should address several points of view. The messaging of your should appeal to the media, the target audience, and all customers. Ads only appeal to one audience: sales prospects. They do not reach a wider audience. Secondly, with advertising, you have almost complete control over the content, format, timing, and size of your advertisements. You can make independent decisions both about the size of your ad and when it will run.
On the other hand, when you’re doing public relations, you have almost no control over the content, format, timing, or size of your message. After all, you have to rely on gatekeepers to accept your content. These gatekeepers normally take the form of journalists and bloggers and they’re the ones who publish the final version of this content, not you. At the end of the day, you can write whatever you want in a press release, but you cannot tell the newspaper how to print or use it. While public relations seems like too big of a challenge, people are becoming increasingly distrustful of advertisements. In fact, most people are skeptical about the claims in traditional advertisements.
On the other hand, people are more likely to believe what they overhear on the radio, see on TV, or read in the newspaper. In general, people think that if it appears in the news it must be true. This is because publicity pieces for a brand are normally disguised as editorials, features, or news stories. Finally, you can replicate an advertisement exactly, but you cannot reproduce a public relations campaign exactly the same way. This is because media outlets will only accept the same story once before they move on to other news. However, with advertising, as long as you’re paying, the advertising agency will run your ad as many times as you want.
Effective PR strategies to try at your company
Now that we know the differences between PR and marketing, let us look at effective PR strategies that you can adapt for your own brand.
1) Know the audience
You must first understand and segment your audiences if you want your messaging to achieve the desired impact. Keep in mind that not every audience is the same. While you can reach some audiences effectively via email, networking events and social media work better for some audiences. Public relations works best when you go to your audience, not the other way around. Always consider the best place to meet all your audiences when you’re creating content.
2) Get organized
The most effective PR strategies consist of activities that are planned and carried out over time. You will need a calendar to keep track of your outreach efforts. You must also begin building a list of media contacts, opinion leaders, personalities, customers, and like-minded businesses with whom you can engage and collaborate.
Pressfarm makes it easier for companies to create customized media lists with a database of over 1 million media contacts across different industries. If you’d prefer not to have to sift through this database, you can get custom media lists from their Account Executive. These media lists will contain details of the best media contacts in your niche so that you can spread your brand message through influential people in the industry.
In addition to connecting you with media contacts to help share your brand story, Pressfarm can also create quality content that will appeal to these people. With a well-crafted press release, some interesting guest posts, and an eye-catching media kit, you can capture media attention and draw potential clients to your brand.
By distributing this content to respected professional networks, media outlets, and startup directories, Pressfarm can boost your online presence and make it easier for your target audience to find you through organic searches. This distribution strategy is designed to make your brand stand out in relevant search results across different search engines, including Google, Yahoo, and Bing!
A personalized PR campaign from Pressfarm could make all the difference for your PR efforts.
3) Think like a reporter
A press release should be exciting and to the point, with a few insightful quotes thrown in for good measure. A brief company history at the end can also be beneficial, including the company’s contact information. The main objective is to capture the attention of the right editor on the right title with exciting news. The more you that can think like a reporter, the more successful your PR campaign will be.
4) Always personalize the pitch
You should not become complacent and issue a mass press release. Rather, you must select the media outlet and, if possible, the journalist who is the most likely to accept your pitch. A well-tailored pitch demonstrates that you are well-organized and know what you are talking about. Additionally, you must always address your emails to the specific reporter or editor in question.
If you need help sending a pitch that will stand out in a journalist’s inbox, you can use our templates as a guide.
5) Use the reverse pyramid format in your press releases
The press release is the cornerstone of any public relations campaign. The average press release is nothing more than a series of thinly-veiled advertisements masquerading as breaking news. If you write it so that it is overly promotional, the media may refuse to run it. First, you must present your news in a style that is appropriate for the publication in question.
Once you’ve identified the best style to use for your press release, you should write in a reverse pyramid style to make things easier for journalists. The headline should contain the most important details, and each paragraph should provide a little more detail. This will prevent excessive editing of your press release in the editing room. Moreover, a press release of 1,000 words will be counterproductive. In fact, journalists will rarely read past that mark.
6) Do your research
In public relations, there are no substitutes for thorough research and meticulous planning. Since research allows you to be strategic, it is an integral part of public relations management. Doing sufficient research beforehand ensures that you can communicate the most important information to audiences who want, need, or care about it. You should research successful public relations campaigns that you want to emulate. With this strategy, you can see what the competition is up to and plan on how to outsmart them.
7) Work work with an A-team
First and foremost, you must establish a dedicated team for your public relations efforts, whether this is in-house or through a PR agency like Pressfarm. If you have someone on staff who is good at graphics, writing witty copy, or simply taking good photos, you should bring them on board. Your team will not only help you add value to your messaging but also provide feedback and assist in distributing your messages. A good team can assist in ensuring that any messages you send have a purpose.
8) Enhance your online presence
You need an online presence to reach out to your customers in today’s world, where everyone is digitally connected. Establishing a social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is an excellent way to reach out to your target audience. You can use these platforms to make announcements, connect with others, and publish content.
9) Establish a prominent online profile
The internet can be a valuable tool for spreading your brand message. After all, the majority of the world’s population uses the internet to find information these days.
If you can boost your SEO so that you rank high on search engines, then you will reach more people. The highest-ranking businesses carefully select keywords based on words their target audiences type into search engines. However, in addition to optimizing your keywords, it’s important to make sure you have quality content that will not let your audience down. This is because search engines will penalize you by bumping you lower on the search results if you have low-quality content that people don’t click on often.
10) Know your competition
Getting an edge over your competitors is the key to any successful business. You must make sure both you and each of your departments have a competitive advantage over other brands in your niche if you want to stand out. Once you identify gaps in your competitors’ PR strategies, you can offer your clients what these competitors have failed to offer theirs. The best PR strategies are built on the understanding, identification, creation, and maintenance of competitive advantage.
11) Create compelling content
Good public relations is all about getting the correct information to the right places when it matters most. The right communication strategy will help you to develop your brand reputation. You must take time to understand what your target audience likes so that you can talk to them in a way that resonates with them. Additionally, you must select engaging topics for your content. In order to be compelling, your content must be relevant and valuable while creating curiosity and urgency and plugging into your audience’s emotions.
12) Think like the audience
You must remember to design your campaigns from the perspective of the general public, instead of your own perspective. Here, subtlety is key. As a company, you will need to use language that projects a positive image. Before distributing your message, you should have it reviewed by more than one member of your team, and even your friends and family to see what they think.
13) Define your goals and objectives
Knowing what you want to achieve and how you plan to get there can help drive your strategy forward even faster. This will help you to determine which audiences you need to reach and which messages and tactics are most likely to assist you in achieving your objectives.
14) Establish a working strategy
You must select the best public relations strategy for your specific needs. You will have to know the difference between public relations strategies and public relations tactics. General approaches to achieving goals are referred to as strategies. On the other hand, tactics are the day-to-day activities that you use to carry out each strategy.
PR tips for getting publicity
15) Capture the media’s attention
The key to getting media attention is to provide them with a compelling story. To achieve maximum impact, you must first understand your marketing message and then craft it creatively. Keep in mind that the media is always on the lookout for new, unique, and creative content. You will need to establish a positive relationship with people from your local newspaper or television station effectively. You should try to maintain a consistent relationship with these people so that the press does not overlook you. Once your name becomes familiar to a particular media outlet, your media outreach to them is more likely to be successful.
16) Run a comprehensive promotion strategy
Promotion is an excellent way to attract customers and a good promotion strategy may be worth a thousand advertisements. The more visible your PR efforts are, the more attention your other marketing communications efforts will receive. As a result, you should start handing out freebies, merchandise, T-shirts, and posters to spread the word. Branded merchandise helps with brand recall among your target audience. However, once you’ve established a particular brand image, you must ensure that your marketing collateral is consistent with the brand and contains images that your audiences recognize.
17) Be funny
Humor has always been a great way to make people feel good. Many businesses create amusing advertisements, and making people laugh is a good way to remain top of mind. In order to use humor effectively, you must look for something that will appeal to your target audience. Once you identify this magic ingredient, you should use it to hone your sense of humor and create content that will entertain your audience.
18) Provide a teaser
When you have something new to promote, it’s normal to make a big deal out of it. After all, it would be a shame if you didn’t generate a buzz about a new product or service. Take advantage of any opportunities you get to give the media something juicy. Doing something different from what everyone else is doing is the key to success here.
You must also ensure that you provide something that people will find exciting. This is especially effective for new products in a series, such as new model cars, book and movie sequels, and restaurant menu items. In order to generate some hype around your new product, you must first set a date for the product’s release and publicize it. You should then release the product in a limited quantity first to heighten anticipation.
19) Host competitions for your audience
Competitions, raffles, lotteries, and other contests draw interest, but some are more newsworthy than others. Those who compete in your contest will remember you and talk about you frequently. If you want your content to really generate a buzz, you should plug into a relevant issue, event, or topic for your business and then design a contest around it. Before you launch your contest, it’s important to partner with people who can help you promote it widely. This will ensure people get excited about participating even before you’ve launched.
20) Host a media event
We cannot overstate the importance of the media when you need to disseminate a brand message. When you have something important to say, you can hold a press conference or a media junket. Don’t wait for a crisis before you host an event like this. You should be in the public eye well before anything goes wrong so that people already know of you. Putting yourself in the limelight when there is no crisis will encourage the public to give you the benefit of doubt when there is a crisis. Keep in mind that whatever news you’re sharing at these events should be honest, otherwise you will lose the media’s trust.
These events will provide an opportunity for the media to ask questions in a way that a press release cannot. As a result, you will be able to contribute to developing a more robust business story. You should take advantage of the opportunity to schedule more time for journalists to speak with your partners, customers, and employees one-on-one. Ideally, you should schedule the event to coincide with the media’s deadlines and always consult with them ahead of time.
21) Tailor your PR to reach the younger generation
The majority of public relations efforts are aimed at adults. Nevertheless, you should be aware that people form opinions about businesses long before they can afford to do business with them. Children, for example, form strong brand associations at a young age. For this reason, you should tailor specific brand messaging to younger generations and reach out to these people before your competitors do so.
22) Create a brand identity
People appreciate a company that has a compelling story to tell. As a result, you should be ready to promote your brand at any time. You must develop and maintain a consistent message that is always positive. Remember that in order for people to notice you, you will need to be enthusiastic about your brand and business.
23) Cover all angles
Crafting stories that are truly newsworthy is a fantastic way to build a brand and generate positive publicity. Staying up to date with current news will help you tell more stories that people care about at the moment. When deciding whether or not to engage with the media, you should consider multiple news angles. If need be, you should tailor different media pitches to appeal to different media outlets. You should always be aware of the media’s preferences and provide content that will meet their needs.
It is also good to avoid sending out a blanket release to everyone. Once a journalist figures out that they’re part of a mass email chain, this move will surely send your email straight to their trash folder.
24) Create photo opportunities
Pictures are worth a thousand words. As a result, you should always pair their copy with a stunning image.
Video opportunities are just as good as photo opportunities. Be that as it may, a striking image takes up less space and requires significantly less effort to create. Companies that invite photographers to their events generate more interest and increase the likelihood of the story being published. You should also include television news crews in these invitations.
25) Tell stories
Journalists and media professionals are always on the lookout for good, exciting documentary ideas. They are looking for content with strong human interest and, ideally, unique ideas that tackle timely topics. Stories highlighting humble beginnings, a sense of belonging, humor, human interest, and tragedy are all selling points. You should consider both the media and the general public when making decisions. Always consider what both sides will gain from your outreach. What kind of outcomes will result for both sides?
26) Involve others
Nothing says “community business” like a company that builds relationships within the community. For this reason, you should participate in church events, support local football teams, and network with your local chamber of commerce. Stakeholders do not have to be passive recipients of your PR efforts; they can also be partners. The more involved stakeholders are, the more ownership and loyalty they feel toward your company or project.
You must also carefully consider the agendas of the stakeholders you wish to include. More specifically, it’s important to find common ground and collaborate.
27) Be passionate
Continuing from the previous point, you should be actively involved in what happens in your community as a local business. Whether it is contributing to new zoning laws or climate change efforts, supporting the local hospital, or assisting in the renovation of the local church, you can find ways to be involved. Businesses that are passionate about their community not only positively impact their communities but also draw positive attention to themselves. Contributing to fundraising efforts is easy – anyone can do that. Consider more hands-on alternatives such as donating your time or the time of your team to a worthy cause. These are frequently easy to report on and demonstrate that yours is a caring organization.
28) Write your own story
You should publish a newsletter and other content from your company regularly. While it’s important to use members of the media to disseminate your message, using your owned media to connect with your target audience can help you produce great content more frequently. It’s okay if you can’t manage to send an updated newsletter to your mailing list once a week – consistency is more important than frequency here. If you can’t manage to send new content out every week, consider sending an update every fortnight or every month. As long as you can establish a regular schedule, your target audience will adjust and learn to look out for fresh content when it’s scheduled to go out.
While newsletters are effective tools of communication, you should not allow your newsletter to become a propaganda tool. Rather, encourage your employees to contribute some content to this newsletter. This will help them feel like an important part of the process and introduce your audience to the faces behind your brand, therefore helping them connect with you better. The key is to use your owned media to interact with your customers on your terms.
29) Join associations
Local associations such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club provide valuable benefits to members. You can use these associations to distribute your messages as well as network with other entrepreneurs. By joining a respected association, you can establish yourself as an industry spokesperson and enlist the help of your trade association to meet your goals. You should also volunteer and offer support to other members to gain more recognition and develop relationships with other people in the industry. Being proactive in asking for roles, producing articles, and dealing with the press is critical.
30) Involve employees
Excellent customer service depends on your ability to put together a winning team. You should try to incorporate a human element into your brand story by involving your employees. It is important to tell your brand story from the perspective of your employees so that your target audience can relate to your brand. It’s also important to emphasize what your company does to help employees pay their mortgages, how you engage with them, and how you all work together to complete exciting and valuable tasks. Beyond involving your employees whenever possible, you should also maintain a regular employee of the month position.
31) Combine PR with advertising
Most businesses only make a cursory connection between their public relations and their advertising. A competent company will develop an integrated campaign using various communication techniques that complement each other. An effective approach to publicity should create collaboration and synergy across the entire organization.
32) Try a press release service
Press release services allow you to reach out to a larger audience of journalists. A good PR agency will include press release services in its packages. For example, Pressfarm can do press release reviews, press release writing, and press release distribution, depending on the package you sign up for. You must always make sure that whatever press release you eventually distribute to the public clearly communicates your brand vision and values.
33) Reach out to customers
The key to effective public relations is to keep in touch with both current and potential customers regularly. You should compile a customer contact list and contact the people on this list to share announcements, invite them to special events, or simply send holiday greetings. Before you add these people to the list, you need to make sure you have their permission. Never abuse the privilege of having someone’s contact information by overcrowding their inboxes, as this may drive them to unsubscribe from future updates. Any attempts to contact someone after they’ve unsubscribed can be considered harassment and is punishable by law. If you make sure you don’t push members of your audience to the point of unsubscribing, then you will always have a channel of communication with them.
34) Create ‘how to’ tips
Let’s face it; everyone enjoys expert advice and life hacks. For this reason, you should share your expertise with your target audience. This helps to draw attention to your brand and demonstrate that those within the company know what they are doing and can be trusted. You should write tips that are easy to understand and valuable to the average person. You should also make yourself available for interviews with newspapers, as well as television and radio shows.
35) Join LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a valuable professional social networking site. Setting up an account on LinkedIn will allow you to network with other companies while also boosting your company’s online profile. Even so, you will need to devote time to developing a professional business page. More importantly, you should always be available to help people who contact you through LinkedIn. While interacting with people and businesses on LinkedIn, remember that you should not focus on selling products. Rather, your focus should be on building a positive brand reputation.
36) Leverage testimonials
The best kind of publicity is that which comes from people outside the business. As a result, what a company’s employees, customers, and suppliers have to say about them is considered very trustworthy. Encourage people who interact with your brand to share their experiences with others online. It is a good idea to share reviews and testimonials from happy customers expressing their enthusiasm for your products. You should always ask people if it is okay to use a testimonial on their behalf before publishing it. If possible, you should try to get video testimonials, and feature full-length customer case studies. A good testimonial can boost your reputation as a successful company.
Keep in mind that the testimonials you get aren’t guaranteed to be 100% positive. If you get negative feedback, don’t ignore it. It’s even more important that you engage with an unhappy customer. By responding to negative comments in a compassionate and supportive way, you’re showing the public that you truly care about their experiences with your brand – positive or negative. While engaging with an unhappy customer, make sure you highlight what you’re willing to do to turn their negative experience into a positive one. Remember, how you treat a disappointed customer will say more about your brand to the world than how you treat a happy customer.
37) Set up a website & blog
Websites are increasingly becoming the focal point of any company’s marketing efforts. If you don’t have a website yet, you should design one immediately. With a well-designed website, clients and potential prospects can get one-stop information about the company on their PC or in the palm of their hands. You can also include branded videos, and social media handles on your website to expand your reach.
A blog is another practical and straightforward platform for sharing your company’s narrative. With an informational blog, you can establish a reputation as a thought leader and earn trust from the public.
38) Offer exclusives
You should offer an exclusive story to one targeted outlet at a time, rather than blasting your press releases to all media outlets at once. Offering exclusive stories will help strengthen your ties with the media and provide opportunities for future collaborations. You need to conduct research on the journalists in your field and pitch each journalist on why you chose them for your one-of-a-kind and exclusive story.
39) Get on YouTube
YouTube is one of the most popular media platforms on the planet. It allows anyone to publish pretty much anything they want on video as long as they respect the community norms. When publishing content on YouTube, you should keep it personal and create engaging stories free of blatant sales pitches.
40) Partner with influencers
Someone who engages with and promotes a brand is known as an influencer. Influencers have different standards and ways of working, so each influencer marketing agreement will be different from the next. For example, an influencer may agree to publish three Instagram photos and write a company blog review. You could offer a monetary payment in exchange for the influencer’s media participation. You can steer influencers in the direction you want them to go and issue-specific instructions for branded hashtags and other plugs. However, keep in mind that the influencer knows their audience best, so it’s a good idea to allow them to be creative in their marketing.
Additionally, a celebrity endorsement can bring in a great return on investment (ROI). Be a talent scout; while choosing a celebrity/influencer, you should consider the long-term benefits and develop a solid contract with fair remuneration. If your celebrity/influencer receives other tempting offers, they may not stay. You should also provide a diverse program of events for your influencers to participate in. When collaborating with influencers or celebrities, always retain ownership of all pictures and sponsorships.
Customers can serve as brand ambassadors for businesses. Happy customers will create the most effective brand endorsements simply because they already use your products and services. Identify your most loyal customers and employ their services as spokespeople for your brand. You can engage potential customers by guiding them through the distinctive benefits of your product or service from a customer standpoint.
41) Include a media or press page
A well-organized newsroom or press page on your website will earn you credibility. Dedicate space on this site for press inquiries, press releases, bios, corporate statistics and history, and historical materials, as well as any other resources that the media might be interested in.
42) Be prepared for rejection
Just because you put a lot of effort into your public relations efforts does not imply the press will immediately pick up your story. It is easy to believe you know more than you actually do when it comes to gaining media attention. You may be so invested in your product or service and convinced of its commercial relevance that you assume everyone will want to write about it.
It’s okay if you don’t make it into the news on your first try. What matters is that you learn from your failures and work toward your objectives. You must strive to improve your future pitches so that you can improve the outcomes of your media outreach. A lot of phone ping pong, emails, and mixers may be required to get the media on board. However, it is critical to never give up.
43) Engage in media monitoring
You cannot respond effectively to a crisis or a negative review from a client if you don’t know what is happening and what people are talking about. You must constantly examine all news and comments about the company to get an idea of how the general public perceives you. In addition, you should ensure that you can analyze the impact of news or comments, whether favorable or unfavorable so that you can respond appropriately.
44) Focus on what really matters
You may be tempted to provide every detail in the aftermath of a crisis, but you must remember that reputation management is about communicating what the public needs to know, not what you want to say. To do this effectively, you should share just enough information to highlight how you feel about the situation and highlight your next steps. You must also concentrate on providing sufficient detail to people who are directly affected by the problem.
45) Focus on the long term
Businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of long-term clients and customer relationship management. The key here is for companies to grasp that maintaining long-term consumer satisfaction is more essential than making a quick buck.
You should also treat members of the press as you would treat a customer. Do not prioritize your agenda for today over a long-term relationship with the media. If the media says no and you try to persuade them otherwise, you will ruin that relationship irreversibly. If you want the media to remain cordial and receptive when you next appear with a pitch, you must always prioritize a positive relationship with your media contacts.
46) Act ethically & always preserve your integrity
You should never break your code of ethics for the sake of public relations or any other economic endeavor. The media, in particular, is better at detecting unethical behavior than the general public. If you try to deceive the media by giving a bribe, it will likely notice backfire badly. Good business ethics help to keep a company’s reputation and assets intact. Ultimately, consumers and potential clients are more likely to do business with a company they trust.
You must always uphold integrity if you want to succeed. Acting with integrity includes not compromising your values and always taking the high road. You should never let rivalry with competitors distract you from this mission. Rather, you must stick to your guns and make the best decision for everyone, even if it is not a popular one.
The surest and quickest method to destroy your reputation is to lie about yourself. Your public relations activities must always adhere to the principles of honesty and accountability, which are essential for establishing trust and credibility with all stakeholders. You should operate with the assumption that, regardless of what you say, the truth will emerge. As a result, you should not take chances and risk ruining your name by being dishonest.
47) Invest in relationships
The focus of your public relations efforts should be on those who already influence your target client. You need to find thought leaders with a lot of clout and form a relationship with them.
A successful partnership will assist you to earn trust from the public. It is critical to develop positive relationships with the appropriate media channels so that you can build credibility for your brand. Without the right connection, you will not reach the correct audience, no matter how many mentions you get.
48) Plan a crisis response
In the event of a PR crisis, you must ensure that you have a crisis communications team in place. Your crisis team will be in charge of developing and executing a crisis response. This team should also devise tactics to deal with the crisis, identify answers, and keep an eye on the media.
Stick to these essential guidelines. Always tell the truth; always be prepared; always take care; always make quick adjustments. Additionally, always show sympathy and concern in a crisis. Moreover, never, ever, ever, ever, ever say, “Any comment.”
While there are plenty more tips that can create a successful PR strategy, the ones listed above can help you build a foolproof approach to gain media attention. When done right, PR has the potential to help you achieve your marketing objectives in a less time-consuming and more cost-effective way. If you want to be successful with your PR efforts, the main thing you should remember is that media relationships take time to cultivate and can take a second to destroy.