So, you’ve decided to hire a PR firm to help promote your company. You’ve written the check and now all you have to do is sit back and watch the sales role in, right? Not so fast. In addition to the fact that there are no guarantees that even the best PR campaign will drive sales, there are many things you can do to help, as well as hurt, the progress of a PR campaign. To get more bang for your PR buck, all business owners need to keep the following in mind:
Know what PR is and is not
While the technical definition of PR is “the practice of managing the spread of information between an individual or an organization”, it is also the art of crafting a story about your business and strategically telling that story to you target markets. What PR is not is a guaranteed way to sell your product and/or a way to wipe away all the sins of your brand. Before launching a PR campaign, do some research in order to have a clear understanding of what PR is, how it works and how it can and cannot help your business.
Get your PR toolbox together
The temptation to immediately see your company’s name in lights can be intoxicating, but if you want your PR campaign to have a lasting impact, there are several tools you need to have before you go live. First and foremost, get media trained! Have an idea of how to speak on camera, how to answer interview questions succinctly, what your key messages are and the do’s and don’ts of speaking with the media. Reporters will also love you if you can supply them with an online media room that has information about your company, FAQ’s, bios on company executives, recent press releases, past media clips, PR contacts and photos of your products that they can easily access.
One of the quickest ways to sabotage your PR efforts is to not be available to speak to media when they call! Work with your PR team to have a clear understanding of when they will be pitching media on your company’s behalf and determine when you might need to be on call for interviews. In the world of media relations, the early bird most definitely gets the worm, so be willing to tell your story at a moment’s notice if you want to get the most out of your PR investment.
Be realistic about your PR metrics
Landing on the cover of the Wall Street Journal or on Good Morning America is highly aspirational, but in reality, big media hits should not be the only way you measure PR success. Work with your team to determine what your overall objectives are and measure against those objectives. For example, do you want to drive increased traffic to your website? Do you want to raise awareness of your products and/or services, or do you want drive tickets sales for a special event, such as a fundraiser you’re currently sponsoring? Be as specific as possible and divide each goal into measurable objectives.