Five Ways to Resolve to Make PR a Top Priority for Your Biz

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Happy New Year, everyone! We all know that the business of publicizing and promoting your business is always on your mind. In November and December, however, PR sometimes has a tendency to run aground in the swirl of holiday activities, last minute accounting, and the rush of media surrounding retail trends. So here are five down and dirty ways to kickstart your resolution to pay much needed attention to the communications program that will take your business to the next level:

 1) READ: Whether your business is targeted to general consumers, or a more select audience, make a list of the top ten print publications that your customers read. Think about everything from websites to national magazines and subscribe to them. When you take your morning coffee or tea, spend just ten to fifteen minutes browsing these publications so you can get an idea about what your customers are reading about and, as a result, buying.  Don’t forget to figure out which print journalists in your hometown are the best match to report about your product and resolve to really spend some time reading their articles throughout the year so when you’re ready to pitch, you know who you’ll be dealing with.

 2) WATCH: Do the same thing with television. Think about everything from one-hour documentaries on TLC, A&E or The Discovery Channel to your local weekday morning new shows. Cultivate the mindset that you’re not just interested in telling people about your service or product but, rather, you’re giving them information that you can use.

3) ACT: In other words, fake it ’til you make it. Believe that you can be a valuable spokesperson or resource on anything and everything related to your industry. This not only makes you a more attractive interviewee for journalists, it can force you to really pay attention to the core messages of your business when you may be on camera at the drop of a hat. Remember to dress the part, take care of yourself, and get enough rest. Like in every area of life, being happy and healthy are major attractors to getting what you want, when you want it.

4) WRITE: Even if you don’t know how to get started in starting or revamping your communications program, it all starts with the basic raw materials: copy. Sure, you may not be a great writer. But you need to have at least a few rough drafts that you can hand off to a pro once your ready to get going. Take a swing at writing a one-page professional biography on yourself, then ask your executive team to do the same. If your stuck, start off with a list of ten questions that need to be answered about you and the company including:

  • What are some of your professional highlights from the last ten years?
  • Why did you decide to get into this industry?
  • What was the genesis for starting the company?
  • How has business changed over the last few years?
  • What makes you qualified to be in this industry?
  • How are your products/services unique?
  • What are some things that partners say about you?
  • What are some things that customers say about you?
  • How have your products/services evolved over the years?
  • Where are you from, and where did you go to school?
  • How many employees do you have and what are your plans for growth?
  • What sorts of media coverage have you received in the past?

Once you answer some of these questions, categories, stories and fact sheets begin to emerge. Then simply hand off what you’ve generated to a writer, and you’ve got the beginnings of a basic press kit.

5) COMMIT: It goes without saying that you can’t do it all alone. The most successful people are that way because of the people they surround themselves with. Do not trust communication with the media, developing important talking points, or sending out a press release to your office manager. If you can not afford a full-time or part-time in-house communications pro, negotiate a contract with a respected PR consultant who can at least help you navigate these sometimes tricky waters. Make a commitment to yourself and to the health of your business to take that first necessary step to work with a communications professional, even on an hourly consulting basis. It’s an investment you can not afford to scratch off your budget. 

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OK– I admit that I can be an overachiever. That’s why I need to add a SIXTH way to get your PR on in 2008.

LEARN: I know we’re all pressed for time, but there are a LOT of great PR/Communications/Marketing blogs out there that are literally giving away trade secrets for FREE. I absolutely love that so many smart and talented people are sharing years of experience through the wonderful world of social media. Expand your business know-how and check out The Bad Pitch Blog for a funny inside scoop on good PR practices gone bad. Also, try visiting The Buzz Bin for intriguing posts on marketing, social media, PR and all things related to communicating who you are.  And I’ve recently discovered The Viral Garden, a really information-centric blog for those interested in learning more about how to incorporate and utilize social media for small businesses, among many other things. And if you’re itching for some interesting insight into the mad world of the ad world, stop by HeeHaw Marketing. You’ll dig it.

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2 Comments

Filed under journalism, marcom, marketing communications, media, media relations, PR for Non-Profits, PR for Small Biz, PR Resources, Press Releases, Public Relations, publicity, social media

2 responses to “Five Ways to Resolve to Make PR a Top Priority for Your Biz

  1. Thanks for mentioning The Viral Garden, and putting me in such good company!

  2. Thanks for the recommendation. We take suggestions, too. So feel free to contact me directly. Best wishes.

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