Effective communications is a team effort, so how can you get the most out of your PR team? These tips will help you ensure that you get the best coverage you can, in the most efficient way.
1. Work with us on your story.
People often confuse PR with advertising and don’t understand what it can and can’t deliver. We say, ‘Advertising is you telling everyone you’re amazing. PR is getting someone else to tell everyone you’re amazing’. The latter has far more impact, but you do have to work much harder on meeting the needs of the journalist to achieve editorial coverage.
In B2B PR journalists need to be given an interesting story. No British journalist will publish the USP of your new website or new business service as editorial; they will send you to their advertising department.
Instead, think about what you would be interested in reading. What is the story behind the new service? Do you have case studies of businesses that have experienced the problem you’re solving? Do you have statistics to back up the need for your service? Do you have an interesting personal story that drove you to set up the business? Your PR agency will help you identify the stories that will work but you know your business better than they do, so they can’t do it without having your input.
2. Be clear about what you actually do.
Being an ‘innovative company’ with ‘creative solutions’ does not tell anyone what you actually do and journalists are quick to point this out. Those phrases are the PR equivalent of the word ‘nice’. The journalist is looking for short answers when asking this question i.e. business consultant, marketing agency, law firm.
If you’re not sure how to describe your company or service, be transparent with your agency about it and they can help you figure it out. We understand it can be difficult. You want to stand out from other companies and disruptive start-ups are trying to break the mould, so it feels alien put yourself in one. However the journalist will want to know what ‘box’ to put you in. If you don’t tell them, they will make a wild guess.
3. Be transparent about what you want to achieve.
After discovering what you do, it’s time to understand what you want to get out of PR. If you want to become famous in your industry, say so. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be an industry icon. Becoming a thought leader is a brilliant way to achieve authority and respect within the industry.
Make a list of your dream clients, no matter how far-fetched it seems. It gives your agency an idea of the type of businesses you like working with and we can create a strategy based on this.
4. Ensure you’re ready.
What call to action do you want on press releases? If you don’t have a website, or you have a website that looks dated or confusing, then your ROI will be affected. Is your product or service available? If it’s not, wait until it is or the effort will be wasted.
Your website is your shop window. If you can’t afford a design agency to develop it, there are some great website platforms out there with content management systems that even my mother can use.
5. Show us the skeletons.
Once we’ve signed the NDA, tell us EVERYTHING. What is the worst that could be said about you? We’re not here to judge, we’re to here to listen, assess and prepare. It’s only by knowing your sensitivities that can we manage them effectively.
6. Keep us briefed.
Sometimes we can create news angles that you haven’t considered, and sometimes that quite routine story is perfect for a reactive opportunity. We need to know everything about your business, from charity announcements to winning awards. We need to be part of your team and be just as well informed about what is happening in the business.
7. Images, images IMAGES!
Pick up your favourite publication and read it. Do you see any good stories without a decent image? Pictures tell a thousand words. A journalist will run a story simply based on the image. Type in ‘Chantelle Christmas tree’ into Google and you’ll see what we mean…
8. Be available.
Journalists, especially nationals, have short deadlines and run at 100mph. If we are so much as five minutes too late for an opportunity, it’s gone.
It is very frustrating for your PR team to have the perfect reactive opportunity, that could get you on the front of a national paper, but be unable to get hold of anyone to approve it. We appreciate that you can be extremely busy, but there always needs to be a back up. This should be someone you can trust, who knows your business just as well as you do.
9. Remember, you can’t keep total control.
You and your PR team have worked carefully on your messaging. You’ve approved the press release, coverage has been promised – everything looks great. However, when you receive the coverage, it doesn’t quite say what you wanted it to. Maybe it doesn’t express your ethical morals or tell anyone the USP of the product you’ve just launched?
While your PR team can do everything in their power to avoid this, sometimes journalists like having a mind of their own, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Journalists want the best for their readers, and they will decide what their readers want to read. You have to accept that with PR, you don’t have full control over the messaging.
We know how frustrating it can be. It’s annoying when the journalist promised us a web link and didn’t include one. We can go back and question it, but we don’t expect an answer (especially with nationals).
10. Trust Us.
You’ve hired us for a reason. Let us do our job and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.
If you’re looking for communications support, call us on 0207 048 2700, or email us.