Now, you don't have to be a public relations expert to maximize the results of your publicity campaign. Use the following trade secrets to increase your visibility and sell more of your product or service:
- Get to Know Your Audience.
According to a survey conducted by Jericho Communications, the typical Fortune 1000 CEO is more likely to have watched The Simpsons than to have watched all three presidential debates. So what does this mean for your publicity? Simple; it means that you can't make assumptions about your audience.
Understanding your audience and what appeals to them is important if you want to get noticed. Keep in mind that you have a variety of different tastes that go beyond your work, and so does everyone else. Figure out what magazines your audience reads and what shows they watch; then read and watch the same things.
- Create News.
By familiarizing yourself with popular publications within your audience, you should gain an understanding of what issues are important to them and what interests them. Understand what they find newsworthy, and develop your publicity around these issues. Tie your topic to current events, and target your audience directly when you pitch stories.
For example, if your business focuses on home organization, you can reach a business audience for "Clean Off Your Desk Day." Or if you help businesses implement time-management strategies in the workplace, you can reach an at-home audience with an article on how to tackle the home improvements you started but never completed. Don't be afraid to stretch the boundaries of your topic. And remember, create news that interests your audience, not news that interests you.
- Send Out Press Releases.
Sending out press releases is the easiest and quickest way to advertise to a large audience, and they inform the media that you have something to offer. Press releases are also a good method for getting your product or service reviewed in publications. Watch the breaking news, and if something ties to your business, send a press release to the newspapers, radio and television shows, and magazines offering your take as an expert to interview about the situation.
Give your press releases a professional look by using a letterhead. Keep them short (two pages maximum), and double space if possible. Direct each press release to a specific reporter or editor to make sure it doesn't get lost in the stacks, and always use a slant aimed at the publication's or show's audience. And perhaps most important, don't forget your contact information.
- Develop a Winning Media Kit.
As you approach the different media outlets, you'll need to send them media kits. Think of your media kit as your resume; it tells the media professionals about you and your business. A professional media kit should include your short bio, a summary of your product or service, and your contact information. Also include sample questions about your topic that the writer or host can use during the interview. Put all of this information together in a professional folder, and present it to media professionals before interviews.
- Solve Your Contact's Problems.
When it comes to stories, each reporter and producer has a unique personality and unique needs. If you can figure out what they want, you make their job much easier. And when you make a media professional's job easier, he or she will come back to you for more quotes and more interviews. So ask them what other stories they're working on and for what other publications they write. Ask how you can help them and what other topics they'd like to see. Let the reporter, editor, or producer know that you care about his or her stories and his or her audience because, in the end, you'll both look good.
Establish working relationships with media professionals, and develop a strong contact for increased publicity. Learn everything you can about the show or publication and about their competition so you can really make them shine.
- Give a Great Interview.
Do you know what it's like to talk to boring people? They drone on for hours about topics that don't interest you, and all you can think about is getting rid of them. Keep this in mind when you talk to the media, because if you're boring, they won't want to talk with you ever again. But if you have energy and keep your responses on the topic, you'll keep the media professionals interested.
Before the interview, take time to prepare three to five main points you'd like to cover. Then if the conversation goes astray, you can revert to these points with ease. Also, don't be pushy about what you want. They may or may not have room in their story to mention your product or service. But if you ask nicely, you'll have a better chance of getting it mentioned.
- Follow Up.
Once you've established contact with media professionals, maintain the relationships and follow up for more exposure. Avoid nagging with "did you decide yet" calls, but do ask when the article will be published or when the show will air. Maybe you can offer a new bit of information in your follow-up call. And remember to reintroduce yourself; reporters and producers talk to many different people every day.
Another important aspect of follow-up and common courtesy is the thank-you note. This added touch of consideration lets media professionals know that you appreciate them and makes them want to work with you again in the future.
A successful publicity campaign is hard work, but it doesn't have to be excruciating. When you understand your readers and their interests and target the publications and shows with slants directed toward their needs, you position yourself for maximum exposure. If you use a professional approach and media kit, the media will take notice. Develop strong working relationships with media professionals, and you will get more quotes and interviews. Give a great interview, and then follow up with the reporter or producer to show your enthusiasm.
Publicity is the key to increasing your bottom line. You don't have to be a public relations pro to make the most of your media exposure. With these seven secrets, you can maximize your public relations success and secure free publicity for your product or service.
About the Author
Pam Lontos is owner of PR/PR, a public relations firm that specializes in professional speakers and authors. Having been an author, speaker, and former VP of Disney's Shamrock Broadcasting, she knows the ropes of getting good publicity and how to use it to really boost your business. Call for a free consultation at 407-299-6128, and sign up for a free publicity tips e-newsletter at www.prpr.net.