Who has never dreamt of seeing their name and their company name in the press? Being in the media can be great publicity and can really bring in new customers, as long as you know how to approach them and spark their interest. We have a few tips to help you do just that! 😊
Before we begin, be aware that the term PR (press relations) encompasses all actions that aim to get the press talking about your product or service. Several tools can be used for this:
- Press releases (which we will be discussing)
- Press kits (for more detailed content, perhaps for an event)
- Press conferences (more for major organizations or government bodies)
1. Establishing a strategy
Press relations need to fall withing a broader strategy; they are a complement to your other actions. You first need to have a clear offering and a clear positioning. You also need to know which channels of communication are most apt to make your brand/offering shine in the eyes of your target clientele.
Like for any other communication channel, you need to establish a line of approach and a strategy for managing relations with the press as seamlessly as possible. Here are a few tips:
- Study your customers’ consumption patterns in terms of media (Which channels do they look to for information? What type of content? At what frequency?)
- Explore the media landscape (specialized magazines, etc.) and track down names and contact information for journalists who cover topics in line with what you do (for example: for finances prefer magazines like AGEFI, for startups get in touch with Silicon Luxembourg, to draw in linguistic communities try Contacto (Portuguese language) or Tageblatt (German language), etc.)
- Be sure to have a clear idea of the missions, values, impact of your activity and image you want to convey
- Now draw up an action plan
2. Targeting journalists and fostering good relationships
Once you have identified the journalists you hope to work with, it’s imperative to build good relationships with them. A few tips:
- When you first make contact, do not full out attack with a business approach. Share some interesting information about their key topics or trending subjects with them.
- Journalists receive hundreds of requests every day. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what might interest them.
- Contact them in a personal manner!
- Touch base again after you’ve sent them an e-mail (without harassing them, of course), preferably in the morning and on a weekday other than Mondays and Fridays. Journalists usually take time to read their emails in the morning.
- After sending information to a journalist, be prepared to answer questions and make yourself available.
- Be prepared for them to challenge you too!
3. Building relevant content
In this section, we will be looking at press releases, once of the most widely used tools in press relations. Also the simplest, and they’re free 😉 Do be careful, however. It’s hard to make a press release interesting without news. Promoting your product/service is not reason enough for journalists to get interested.
A press release is a short text that recaps the message you want to send. Here are a few points you can work on:
- A press release features a lead paragraph answering the who, what, when, where and why, the body of the text presenting information from most to least important, contact information, and a description of the company. Place emphasis on the who and the why.
- Be sure to include the date and state that it is a press release at the top of the document.
- Find a catchy title.
- Give careful thought to your message. It shouldn’t be about “selling the product” but rather gathering people around your product and speaking to your community.
- Your content should not be overly technical or specific. Everyone should be able to understand it.
- Think to offer visual illustrations to the journalists: pictures of the protagonists, places, etc. Pictures with people in them always work best.
Press releases make a journalist’s job easier. They select a topic based on certain criteria, such as the unique nature of the information, perhaps an exclusive status you’ve offered them, the consistency of your subject with the editorial line they tend to follow, the geographic proximity of the information, etc1.
4. Choosing the right time
There are different times in your activity you may want to have your name in the press. But bear in mind that for your first press release, we do not recommend being in an aggressive sales mode. Instead, share strong messages (news, values, causses, missions, impacts) about your brand/company). A few examples2 of situations in which you may choose to use this lever:
- A major event
- A significant nomination
- A takeover or acquisition
- Celebrating the anniversary of your launch or another symbolic date
- Obtaining a label or being awarded a prize
- A new partnership
- A new strategy
- A fundraiser
- A product launch
There are specialized agencies who can help if need be. The press truly is a great way to get your name out there, grow your community and spark interest among new customers! We hope this article will help you give it a whirl, with confidence!
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