WHEN I’m not blogging, you can find me sat at a desk typing away, getting my creative head on for clients.
I work as both a journalist and PR and I absolutely love what I do. Yes, there are other strings to my professional bow but these are the two services which are my most popular.
Today I want to talk about PR and help get you into a public relations state of mind.
PR is one of those things that everyone knows they ‘should’ be doing but not many do. We all know it can and does work but yet PR activity often falls by the wayside or is pushed to the bottom of a packed to do list.
But yet it shouldn’t. Because trust me when I say, it’s very important. To your success, building a reputation and creating opportunities.
Forgetting my PR clients and speaking as a blogger and freelancer for a moment, PR is critical to my longevity and ambitions. And it is to yours.
Successful PR does require time and a certain amount of creativity but there are many things anyone can do which will help to boost your profile, drive sales or gain exposure.
Today I thought I’d share some of these with you. Here are my top 10 PR tips.
1) Make it easy for people to contact you
You would be amazed at how many businesses and bloggers I’ve come across whom I cannot find contact details for, so please for the love of god, make it easy for people to contact you!
Make sure your website or blog has a contact page which presents clear information on how people can get in touch and be active on social media.
If your contact details aren’t there, in black and white, people will move on and find someone else.
2) Be professional & friendly
Always respond to every media enquiry asap, even if it’s not your cup of tea.
Be professional, polite and pleasant. You will never know when you may come across that person again or need their help so don’t burn bridges.
3) Don’t be afraid of reaching out
The media need stories. They need news and devour it! Every. Single. Day.
Being a journalist is hard work, you’re constantly on the lookout for something interesting to share with your readers and you’re constantly up against the clock. It’s tough. So make it easy for them!
If you have a news worthy story (see next point) contact the press and see if they would like to share it.
a) Creating a well written press release and sending it
b) Dropping a journalist a short, brief email or giving them a quick call
Most of the time journalists are just far too busy to be actively looking for stories, so do them a favour and take a good story to them.
Finally, always, wherever possible, ensure that you’ve got a decent high res image too which they can use. Us journos love a good picture story.
4) But do make sure you have news worth offering!
Nobody wants to waste anyone’s time so before you go off in excitement contacting every Tom, Dick and Harry from a press list, THINK.
Have you really got something of value to share? Is your news interesting? Worthy? Unusual? Can it help people? Is it amusing? Is your accompanied image decent and of a good quality?
For example, your local paper probably won’t care if you have just launched a new blog. But, they may indeed care if your blog has been nominated for a national award or has gained some celebrity interest.
When it comes to news, think success (promotion, award), events (good causes, high profile), fame (celebrities, success in your field) the unusual (interesting facts, incredible stories) and the human (real life, emotion, compassion).
5) Never hound
If you want to annoy the hell out of a journalist, then just hound them. Call them, send numerous emails and stalk them on social media.
Oh you don’t? Brilliant.
When you have news to share, get in touch with the press (as in point 3) and then let them get on and do their jobs.
If a journalist wants to use your story, they will. If they want to get in touch, they will. If they need you, trust me, they will let you know.
6) Be available
Give the media what they want.
If they need something immediately, respond urgently. If they need a decent comment, provide one. If they need you to be somewhere for a certain time, be there. If you cannot help them or don’t want to, please let them know.
Every business should have a media pack ready at hand to send digitally and if you’re a blogger you may want to consider this also.
7) Deal with the media graciously
If your story has been used or you’ve been featured in a publication, it’s polite to say thank you. A simple tweet or email will suffice but if a publication has gone to town on you, a handwritten letter is lovelier.
Always share your coverage and help boost the media’s readership too while you’re at it.
8) Shout out about your press!
Share recent coverage via your social media channels and make sure all press is displayed on your website or blog.
Add a press page (Here’s mine for example) where you can upload images of your coverage and links too, if you have been featured online.
9) Create opportunities
But I’ve got nothing newsworthy to share, you cry! Then create it!
Set some time aside, brainstorm and write down some ideas. How can you boost your PR? Well here are a few ways for starters:
Become an ‘expert’. Get involved with a charity. Start a campaign. Share your success. Do something interesting. Provide something of value. Write from the heart.
Do a guest post for a successful blog or organisation. Be available to provide comments and share expertise. Create photo opportunities that the press will love. Work with others.
Think, think, think and then create your own news.
10) Finally, always remember YOU are your best PR.
Whether you’re on your own or working for an organisation, never ever underestimate the power of YOU.
How you speak, how you communicate, what you say, what you publish, what you create, how you dress and how you treat people speaks volumes about who you are and what you do.
Present yourself wisely and at your best but always with authenticity. Use social media carefully. Don’t get dragged into unpleasant conversations and don’t be negative about others, unless it’s just. Whether we like it or not, the fact is that people judge. All of the time.
So don’t let yourself down. Dress well, speak with positivity, have integrity, be professional, have manners and always present yourself as the best YOU possible.
Remember, people are watching. And reading.