If we had £1 for every time we heard “there’s no way I could do my PR myself” we’d be a very rich team! Of course, working with a PR agency like EAST VILLAGE. means that you get decades of experience, strategic thinking and a s**t hot book of press contacts, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to succeed, so we’re here to share our PR tips!
We know that the world is changing and that marketing your own business and brand is becoming more accessible, and it’s something that we’re embracing. It’s the exact reason that we set up Pocket Sized PR; to empower solopreneurs, start-ups and founder-led businesses to handle their own PR and marketing. Of course, we want to keep growing our own client list, but the reality is that sometimes DIY PR is the best approach, especially in the early stages of a business when budgets are tight.
So, if you’re stepping into the PR spotlight and need a helping hand, here’s TeamEV’s Top 10 PR tips for success! Don’t forget to follow @PocketSizedPR on Instagram too, for even more industry secrets, top PR tips and templates
1. Know your audience
This is rule 101 for effective sales and marketing but knowing who you’re truly trying to get to is essential for any PR campaign. Consider whether your ‘customer’ and ‘consumer’ might be different people; if you’re selling a product or service for children, for example, they’re not the purchasers so how do you need to appeal to the parent, guardian or teacher buying what you have to offer? Which sets of eyes do you ultimately need to see your product or service and how will you get to them? If you’re trying to land coverage in your favourite publication that’s only useful if you’re the customer, otherwise it’s just a vanity project. As nice as it is to show your mum this coverage, the first of our PR tips is making sure that your activity is always targeted to the people who will actually buy what you’re selling.
2. Ask yourself why anyone cares
There’s no doubt that you’ll be selling your products and services because you truly believe in them. Whilst admirable, this isn’t the way to land great PR… sorry to burst that bubble. The second of our top PR tips is that you need to sell a solution, not a product or service. Think about your customer’s needs: Do they have a specific pain point? Is your ‘thing’ saving them time or making life that little bit easier? Are you able to support them with something that need? When it comes to your PR messaging (more on that in a moment), think about ‘why’ they need what you have on offer, rather than ‘what’ it is that you’re trying to promote. The same goes for journalists too – don’t send them an email that sounds like a sales pitch; tell them why they should be covering your business or brand and why now.
3. Craft your key messages
The key to effective marketing is knowing not just what you’re trying to promote but how you’re going to promote it. Defining three or four key messages is crucial as it can help you not only get into some of the ‘why’ that we talked about earlier, but also ensure there’s consistency across everything that you do. When you’re planning your strategy, think about these messages and how you’ll get them across on your website, customer emails and social media channels. Then you can use them to inform your PR strategy, thinking about how you’re going to get these messages across through the press activity that you’re doing.
4. Build a targeted press list
The ‘spray and pray’ tactic is a sure-fire way to fail at PR. Don’t just find a random list of journalists and send them a blanket email hoping that they’ll pick it up. They won’t. Journalists receive hundreds of emails a day, many of which are the same-old boring “here’s a press release I thought you’d be interested in”. Research the titles you’re trying to land coverage in, make sure that the journalist is the right person, and then nail your pitch (see point 8). There are ready-made databases such as Gorkana and Vuelio that do the hard work for you, but they can be costly so spend some time with your friend Google – look on the publication’s website, look in the printed magazine (if they have one) and try to find the journalist on Twitter. You’ll usually be able to find the best way to contact the person you need!
5. Have all your ducks in a row
Before you even think about sending an email pitch or kick-starting your PR activity, make sure that you have everything ready for those journalist requests. Capture the right images; whether that be founder headshots, team pictures, product cut-outs or line sheets… imagery is, by far, one of the most important things to get right. A strong image can, honestly, be the difference between you landing the coverage and not. You might also want to get your press pack ready, packed full of the info and assets that journalists will need. Fear not, here’s our step-by-step guide to creating one and what you’ll need to include from our bank of PR tips over on Pocket Sized PR.
6. Plan your comms calendar
If you’re launching your business, product or service next week it’s probably already too late to get the right kind of PR. Understanding how the media works is really crucial, especially when you’re looking at monthly magazines who are sometimes working 3-6 months in advance. We talk a little bit more about long and short lead press in our A-Z of PR, but TeamEV’s Holly is also a master at press pitching and creates a ‘what to pitch this month’ PR tips guide every single month, so check those out over on our EV. Insight page. When it comes to planning ahead, we’ve also got a super-helpful marketing calendar for you to download and populate. You’re welcome!
7. PR is about more than press releases
Trust us when we say that PR is about so much more than the humble press release. It still has its place but think about what PR really means – ‘Public Relations’ so how are you engaging with your ‘publics’? Are you communicating with your stakeholders, beyond just your customers? Is influencer marketing a tactic that’s going to work for you? Can you host events, pop-ups and experiential activity that promotes what you do? Are there collaborations that you can explore or ways to work with the community? Where does video come in and how can you embrace multimedia to make it work for you? Think outside of the box and get yourself in front of your target audience in more ways than just a press release.
8. Nail your email pitches
The email pitch… often the downfall of a great PR campaign. Journalists receive so many emails, which means that getting yours right and making it stand out is crucial. Don’t worry, we’re making it super easy for you – click here for another Pocket Sized PR resource that guides you through pitching to journalists. If you’ve followed our PR tips so far then you already have a brilliant press list and your key messages, so you’re ready to go. Remember that you want to send tailored emails and have some searchable phrases in your nine-word subject line. Then, have your press pack and imagery ready for journalists when they come back to you. Again, think back to the ‘why’: Why do people need your product or service? Why are you the right business or brand to promote? Why is now the perfect time for the journalist to cover your story?
9. Make your PR do some work
When you land that press coverage (which you will, even if it takes a few goes), make sure that it’s not just something you show your partner or best friend. Make that PR do the work and tell a story! There are copyright rules around replicating print coverage and putting it on your website so be careful not to fall into that trap, but you can still have a banner with ‘as seen in’ and the title’s logo with a link to online coverage. Post about your PR success on social media too; not just the coverage but why not make a behind-the-scenes Reel that shows your DIY PR in action?! Let customers know about it too by including links in your sales emails or doing added value offers on hero products or services that have been featured in the press. Content is king in marketing so think about how you use that press coverage, blog post, video and imagery across more than just one channel!
10. Don’t give up!
Even if you follow the first nine steps, read every single EV. Insight and download all of our Pocket Sized PR tips and assets, we can’t guarantee success. Sorry about that… it’s just how PR is! You can have the most incredible story, targeted at the perfect customer base, with direct introductions to journalists, and you still might not make the cut. It’s the frustrating part of PR but what it does mean is that when you do land a #PRwin it’s even sweeter! Remember, it might be a case of timing – the journalist you’re contacting might have already covered a similar story or product, or they’re just busy with something else more topical. Never hound journalists but, of course, follow up your press releases and pitch emails with a second email or phone call. If you’ve done that and you still haven’t had a response (which is very normal, even for pros like us), think about whether re-framing your ‘why’ or selling it a different way could work. Maybe even park the idea and re-visit PR again in line with a seasonal day or topical story… PR opps are never lost, so don’t be disheartened. It will happen!
So, there you have it: our top 10 PR tips for success, with some helpful links to help you along the way. Make sure that you’re following @PocketSizedPR for even more insights from TeamEV every week and you can always drop the team a DM if you need help! We’d also highly recommend checking out the ultimate how-to PR bible by Lucy Werner called ‘Hype Yourself’ as well as the brilliant new podcast by Fiona Minett aka Boss Your PR, ‘The PR Spotlight’.
Let us know how you get on!