A well-executed public relations strategy is the key to not only driving awareness for your brand but it also helps you gain exposure and credibility in front of new audiences and potential customers. Although there’s not a strict set of guidelines that need to be followed to roll our an effective public relations campaign, there are six steps that we outline in detail that are critical in taking your public relations campaign to the next level.
1. Set a Goal
Most companies think that the goal of a public relations campaign is to get press and gain visibility. While this is a substantial high-level objective, a more defined goal must be set to reach success. Ensure you set a tangible, specific goal for a campaign such as generating an increase in traffic to your website over a certain period, or generating a certain number of sales lead conversions on your site.
2. Develop Your Angle
Your angle needs to tell a compelling story that helps the reporter understand why this is a newsworthy story that fits their beat. It’s your job here to find the perfect balance between what is important to you or your clients, and what is newsworthy and what will attract the attention of readers or viewers.
3. Write Your Pitch
Ensure the pitch you plan to send to reporters is succinct and error-free, as even a minor error can convey a lack of detail to the reporter. Tailor the pitch content to the reporters specific beat and coverage, and save any attachments for once they request them. Sending a pitch that is overly promotional or worse, a generic story, will not yield interviews or interest.
4. Find Your Media Contacts
Now that you have a pitch conduct research to compile a list of relevant reporters and media contacts. If you have access to a database such as Cision or Muck Rack, you can filter searches for reporters by name, beat, outlet, location, etc. Another great method of finding reports is a Google search of relevant stories on the same subject of the story you’re pitching. Find similar stories, and reach out to reporters covering that topic.
5. Pitch the Story
This step is self-explanatory – pitch the story! Ensure you are keeping track of which reporters you pitched and when (an Excel or Google Spreadsheet works well) and try pitching at different times of the day to test what works. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to avoid pitching on Mondays and Friday’s. One thing to note here is to make sure you spell the reporters name wrong!
6. Follow Up
Two days after you send a pitch to a reporter, send a short follow-up email, and if appropriate, a phone call. Keep your follow-up short. A sentence or two max will suffice, asking them if they have an interest in your story and want to conduct an interview.
Follow these critical steps to ensure your public relations campaign is newsworthy, timely, and detail-oriented, and you’ll be well on your way to securing coverage that will increase brand exposure and credibility.