This week I was in Canberra speaking at a breakfast and presenting a workshop on Public Relations for business group Small Biz Intelligence. One story I shared with attendees was about an article I wrote many years ago called from Fitness to Fame about fitness guru Michelle Bridges. In that article I included the top 10 tips to PR success which I’ve included in this blog.The story was printed in a small business magazine which Michelle showed to the team at Fitness Australia. The article then appeared in their magazine. On the strength of that story I was invited to speak at the Fitness Australia AGM breakfast and on to present at their annual conference Filex. So publicity does work!
Business owners and leaders recognise the power of publicity and how positive media coverage can have an impact on their business. Certainly in the case of Michelle Bridges her empire has been built on the power of television and publishing – not only books but numerous articles in magazines and newspapers. Free media exposure appears to be more credible than advertising, and publicity when incorporated with the reach of social media can have a huge impact.
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.
- Gain the appropriate skills and knowledge to become an expert in your field. Experts on specialist topics are sought after by the media. Become a qualified member of your industry’s association, as this will give you credibility when the media choose to profile you.
- 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. Summarise your message in short, succinct, sound bites.
- You need to have an audience to listen to your message – do some research on your ideal customer, perhaps a survey. Look at whom your competitors are talking to. Zero in on your target.
- Reach out to your target audience through the media. Research the most appropriate magazines, newspapers, on-line media, blogs or TV shows for your story. Build a database of media contacts or buy a media directory.
- Approach the media – send out a well-written media release, follow up with phone calls. Submit articles to magazines. Submit articles to on-line sites. Follow up again – make sure you are consistent with your media liaison.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Build up a portfolio of information about you. Your media kit to include on your website as an online newsroom and for meetings with journalists.
- Consolidate your expertise by publishing books, CD’s and DVD’s and reap the rewards of successful public relations.
Read last week’s blog Promote Your Personal Brand Through Your Press Room