Hit the Nail on the Head—Effective PR
Public relations entail media relations, creation of press releases, copywriting and making of brochures/catalogues, advertising, and sponsorship. Whether you have a home based business, a freelance service provider, or run a small firm/ business, you will need to ensure that the world knows you exist and what you have to offer. When you don’t have a large budget to hire professionals, you can, with a little thought and planning, do your own PR.
You will need to:
• Do some research and discover how you can promote your business/work.
• Create a vibrant presentation highlighting your business—use this presentation as often as possible.
• Maintain a network list. Be sure to add at least two new contacts each week. You can use this to send mailings and offers. The list should be up-to-date with all changes in address/ profiles updated regularly.
• Design an electronic newsletter to send people once every three to six months—this can detail your latest achievements and innovations. Such newsletters will keep your name in front of people in your field. Include positive feedback from your clients.
• Contribute articles/tips to magazines/business publications related to your field— regular writing will serve to create a memory in the minds of readers.
• Use all opportunities however bizarre they may seem. For instance, a speciality carpenter once left brochures in his dentist’s office reception area. He got many clients got by doing this simple exercise. Keep your eyes and ears open for new and innovative paths. You could put up a stall or banner or sponsor an event at a local church, bazaar, or city festival.
• Send out pitches like clockwork—make them interesting by using contests, advice columns, or quizzes.
• Always carry a business card, which clearly states what you do. A name and address alone do little to inform people what line of business you are in.
• Think about promoting your work by linking with a related business –offer to promote them in return for their doing the same for you.
• Identifying the audience.
• Contacting the most appropriate media people—journalists, interviewers, show hosts, and so on. Preparing media interview questions and answers –they will ensure you come across as confident and as a pro.
• Creating a web site and publicizing it well. One can consider, exchange banners, links, as well as online advice columns and blogs. Be sure to ensure search engine optimisation.
• Writing an e-book for customers giving advice and tips that are useful and one of a kind. This can be used as a give-away.
• Writing effective phone and print publicity pitches that are ready-to-use.
• Offering to speak for free on the radio, at local events, as well as chamber of commerce events—choose topics of interest to people and relevant to your work.
• Making the press release interesting and relevant.
• Providing relevant details but cutting out the fluff.
• Highlighting the human-interest angle in all articles, interviews, columns, and profiles.
• Including contact names, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, and fax numbers.
It’s important to get your marketing message across affordably and effectively —to do that you must establish an ongoing relationship with the media. This will help you generate ongoing awareness of your company and services. Most importantly, do a budget costing for the PR—to be worthwhile, the expenses incurred must be realized through increased business opportunities.
Above all, draw up a workable PR strategy and be sure to evaluate the success of the PR regularly—a critical evaluation will ensure that you can re-think unsuccessful plans and enhance successful ones.