No matter how large or small your business is, the key to securing publicity is identifying your target market and developing a well-thought-out PR campaign. To get your company noticed, follow these seven steps:-
1. Write your positioning statement. This sums up in a few sentences what makes your business different from the competition.
2. List your objectives. What do you hope to achieve for your company through the publicity plan you put into action? List your top five goals in order of priority. Be specific, and always set deadlines.
3. Identify your target customers. Are they male or female? What age range? What are their lifestyles, incomes, and buying habits? Where do they live?
4. Identify your target media. List the newspapers and TV and radio programs in your area that would be appropriate outlets. Make a complete list of the media you want to target, then call them and ask whom you should contact regarding your area of business. Identify the specific reporter or producer who covers your area so you can contact them directly. Your local library will have media reference books that list contact names and numbers. Make your own media directory, listing names, addresses, and telephone and fax numbers. Separate TV, radio, and print sources. Know the “beats” covered by different reporters so you can be sure you are pitching your ideas to the appropriate person.
5. Develop story angles. Keeping in mind the media you’re approaching, make a list of story ideas you can pitch to them. Develop story angles you’d want to read about or see on TV. Think back to the last story about a company that kept your attention. What angle and interest was in that story and others that caught your eye? Plan a 45-minute brainstorming session with your spouse, a business associate, or your employees to come up with fresh ideas.
6. Make the pitch. Put your thoughts on paper, and send them to the reporter in a “pitch letter.” Start with a question or an interesting fact that relates your business to the target medium’s audience. For instance, if you were writing for a magazine aimed at older people, you could start off “Did you know that more than half of all women over 50 haven’t begun saving for retirement?” Then lead into your pitch: “As a Certified Financial Planner, I can offer your readers ten tips to start them on the road to a financially comfortable retirement.” Make your letter no longer than one page; include your telephone number and email address so the reporter can contact you.
If appropriate, include a press release with your letter. Be sure to include your positioning statement at the end of any correspondence or press releases you send.
7. Follow up. Following up is the key to securing coverage. Wait four to six days after you’ve sent the information, then follow up your pitch letter with a telephone call. If you leave a message on voice mail and the reporter doesn’t call you back, call again until you get them on the phone. Don’t leave a second message within five days of the first. If the reporter requests additional information, send it immediately and follow up to confirm receipt.
Part two and three coming up in our next posts…stay tuned!
Courtesy of Entrepreneur Media Inc.