Whether you’re an entrepreneur, influencer or aspiring thought leader, many people dream about generating buzz for their products, services or initiatives. But before you delve into Public Relations tactics or hire a PR pro, you should establish a strong foundation or your efforts could be a waste of time, money, and resources.
As a freelance writer, I receive several pitches and press releases requesting media coverage via email from PR reps and business owners. As an owner of a communications consulting company, I also hear about PR disasters from clients who invested in PR services before they were ready. In a nutshell, there are 2 things happening way too much:
- Businesses, organizations, and thought leaders are hiring unqualified professionals to represent them.
- Pitches and press releases are poorly written.
PR handled the wrong way can be a major setback for your brand.
So let’s clarify the purpose and benefits of PR.
Simply put, the goal of Public Relations is to increase your visibility and manage your reputation. You can choose the Do-It-Yourself option or hire a Public Relations professional. But once hired, a PR pro becomes the voice of your company or brand that represents how the world perceives you. Typically, they’re very well connected in the industry and can help you generate awareness about you, your company or your event, grow your audience and even drive sales of your products or services.
A variety of communications and public relations techniques are used to generate awareness such as using influencers to promote your product or service, publishing engaging content like videos, articles, social media marketing campaigns, and securing media coverage on TV, radio and magazine publications.
Still, think you’re ready for PR?
Check out the questions below to assess your PR readiness. Oh and check out my freebie below “Before You Click Send Media Checklist.”
1.Can you clearly communicate your point of difference in the market?
Understanding why your product stands out from competitors is critical to attracting the right audience and being featured in the media. Your point of difference can include your story, product features, or benefits.
2.Have you identified your business goals and put systems in place to monitor your progress?
Regardless if you hire a PR agency or freelancer, an effective PR pro should understand your goals and have access to your analytics, which can help track web traffic and measure the impact or ROI of any media outreach or public relations campaigns.
3. Is your website ready for media coverage? Is there a product or service available? Do you have a website as well as a sign-up form on your site where people can leave their email address to receive updates?
PR campaigns and press coverage can drive substantial traffic to your website. So let’s say an article featuring your business goes viral attracting over 3 million views and 400,000 shares if you don’t have a product available to sell or a place on your website to capture potential customer’s information, it’s a recipe for failure.
4. Do you have a strong range of promotional assets such as a branded website, professional photos, and active social media accounts?
These things establish your company’s credibility in your field.
5. Do you have the budget to hire a public relations firm or consultant?
PR services are typically billed hourly, by a monthly retainer, or project basis. Depending on where you live, PR services can range from $1,500 per month for a small local business to $50,000 for a large corporation. And take note, this may not include expenses such as travel, photographers, printing, makeup artist, etc.
6. Do you have the time and patience to commit to the public relations process?
Success doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes it can take at least three to six months for a PR professional to launch a successful campaign and land media coverage.
Note: I originally published this article for Black Enteprise.com.