Public relations can be used to protect, enhance or build reputations through the media. The world of business is characterised by fierce competition.
In order to win new customers and retain the existing ones, companies not only have to distinguish themselves from the competition but must also create and maintain a positive public image which helps create a strong relationship with the customers and in turn increases the sales.
How to build your public presence
All you have to do is let others know you exist and that you are an expert source of information or advice about your industry. Being regarded as an industry expert can do wonders for your business.
These six steps will be useful;
- Start by making sure you know everything you can about your business, product, and industry.
- Talk to as many groups as possible such as with public speaking engagements. Do it free of charge, of course, and keep it fun, interesting and timely.
- Contact industry trade publications and volunteer to write articles, columns or opinion pieces.
Offer seminars or demonstrations related to your business. For example, a travel agency may recommend the best and safest destinations for the Christmas holidays.
- Host or appear as a regular guest or contributor to a local radio or TV talk show.
- Capitalise in well-run platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where you can post about your current specials, discounts and new products around the clock.
- Preparing media or press kits
Effective publicists have great relationships with many different journalists in many different industries. Keep ready-made kits at hand for the media. Your kit could include executive profiles, quick facts about your organization, such as its company history, photographs, detailed product descriptions; even samples and business cards.
How to prepare a pitch to the media for publication
If you’d like media platforms to cover the work the work you do, you’ll need to first pitch to the media. These steps should come in handy.
- Write your positioning statement. This sums up in a few sentences what makes your business different from the competition and what your Unique selling point (USP) is.
- 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 and be specific and set timelines.
- Identify your target customers. Are they male or female? What age range? What are their lifestyles, incomes and buying habits? Where do they live?
- 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.
- 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 would want to read about or see on TV. Brainstorm ideas for example, if you own a clothing store, one angle could be to donate clothes to the local women’s shelter.
- Make the pitch. Put your thoughts on paper, and send them to the reporter in a “pitch letter.” Make the letter short and include your contact details so the reporter can contact you.
- Following up is the key to securing coverage. Wait a few days then follow up your pitch letter with a telephone call. Always be courteous when speaking to journalists bearing in mind that they are busy individuals.
- Send a thank you note to the reporter after the publication of your story.