I often present workshops on Public Relations and how to work with the media for associations and small business networks. One I presented in Canberra a while ago had such a positive impact on one attendee’s business. Because of course she implemented the strategies. When we have so much to do in our business – trying to get publicity often goes in the “too hard” basket. But it does work – see her testimonial below.
For small business entrepreneurs you may think that you don’t have the skills or knowledge to gain publicity and maybe you’re not in a financial position to hire a PR firm (yet!). But if you follow my 10-point plan I’m sure that you’ll soon experience the power of the press.
1. Gain the appropriate skills and knowledge to become an expert in your field. Become a qualified member of your industry’s association, as this will give you credibility when the media choose to profile you. Winning awards in your industry and gaining qualifications will add to your authority. Deep learning and understanding of your topic will help you develop content and clearly communicate your knowledge with confidence.
2. Be clear on what your message is – know what you want to say. Understand that you need to have a point of difference or something interesting to say and that you need to get that across in an entertaining and informative way. Experts on specialist topics are sought after by the media. Develop your unique take on your topic and summarise your message in short, succinct, sound bites suitable for interviews or memes on social media.
3. You need to have an audience to listen, see and understand your message – do some research on your ideal customer or client. Look at whom your competitors are communicating with. Zero in on your target and know where they get their information from.
4. Reach out to your target audience through the media. Research the most appropriate magazines, newspapers, on-line media, blogs, radio or TV shows for your story and message. Create a database of media contacts appropriate to you. You don’t need to have every media outlet on your list – it could even be just your top 20 who you communicate with regularly. Find out the contact details of journalists online, or buy a media directory.
5. Approach the media – send out a well-written media release, follow up with phone calls. Media releases possibly will be ignored but by communicating with the journalist you may be able to submit an article or provide other content. Submit articles to on-line sites. Follow up again – make sure you are consistent with your media liaison.
6. Be persistent. Keep on submitting media releases and articles. But learn to take no for an answer and don’t be a pushy publicist. You need to build good working relationships with journalists. Ideally build rapport and a professional relationship to understand and meet their needs.
7. A picture tells a thousand words. Send out a professional and creative photograph with your release or ring the media outlet and suggest a photo opportunity. Stage a creative film opportunity for television. Media is entertainment and most people are attracted to strong visual images. Hence the rise of photos, infographics and memes in social media.
8. Be prepared for media interviews. Prepare beforehand possible questions and rehearse the answers. Prepare a few points you want to get across and stay on track. Think of sound bites and memorable phrases to convey.
9. Build up a portfolio of information about you. Your media kit to include on your website as an online newsroom and either printed or on USB for meetings with journalists. Include great photos, bio and fact sheets available for download and have articles and videos you may have done available for viewing.
10. Consolidate your expertise by publishing books, CD’s and DVD’s and reap the rewards of successful public relations.
Try it and see if you experience successful PR – like Lisa.
Over the last 10 months I've been consistently stepping out of my comfort zone and starting to promote myself and my businesses in a better light. During this time, I have launched a new business that has been well received by the media in Canberra. We have secured three radio interviews, one print interview and the support of a local business organisation that assists with our promotion. I have also secured three panel positions and writing of regular articles for publications in the health, business and culture industries.
This is due to the knowledge and confidence that I gained from attending Sue's PR workshop and from the extra information in her book Apprentice to Business Ace. I'm no longer afraid about putting myself out there!
Thank you Sue for sharing so much value and practical advice with me. I'm looking forward to discovering what other amazing opportunities await!
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Read last week’s blog Create Your Competitive Edge through Communication
Sue Currie is a personal branding specialist providing solutions to business owners and organisations to boost their image, renown, brand and business. She is the founder of Shine Academy™, providing education and professional development training and Shine Agency™ a firm providing personal branding and public relations services to help businesses and entrepreneurs position and present an impactful professional brand. Through speaking, corporate workshops, and consulting, Sue helps businesses and individuals to stand out and shine.