It’s easy to see why December and January are the most popular times for setting goals.
A New Year is always a fantastic opportunity to wipe the slate clean, start again, and set goals for the year ahead. When it comes to marketing and PR activity for small businesses, there are some really quick and easy resolutions you can make (and keep!) to achieve exposure for your business this year.
As a PR consultant based in Cumbria, I work with a host of clients in a variety of different sectors, including accounting, creative, hospitality, leisure and property. My specialty is telling a brand’s story in a creative way, with the aim of getting them in front of their target audiences at the right time and in the right way, with powerful press coverage.
Here are my top five tips to help you, as a small business owner, harness the power of PR in 2017.
- Create a media calendar for the year
A media calendar is a brilliant way to identify relevant dates in your industry that might become a talking point in the press or on social media. You should choose the best format that works for you, but I use an A4 diary and make a note of the different days that might be relevant for all of my clients. For example, my various food and drink clients might be able to take advantage of Yorkshire Pudding Week, or British Game Week, or National Wine Day.
- Subscribe to your target media
If you want to be IN the press, then you have to READ the press. Sounds simple, right? You would be amazed how many people don’t read the publications they want to target. And when it comes to media relations, journalists will be much more open to story pitches if they know you’ve done your homework. This is why media relations is such an important part of PR. A common gripe of journalists is when businesses (and unfortunately, some bad PR agencies) pitch a story that is completely irrelevant to their publication. Doing this will not only annoy them, it will also damage a brand’s credibility. Invest in a subscription for your target media titles, read them carefully and look at the type of stories they’re featuring – and keep an eye out for your competitors too.
3. Draft a basic press release template
You will save time by creating a basic template for press releases. Make sure your company logo is at the top of the template, then underneath, include the date the press release is being issued (or an embargo if necessary), the words ‘Press Release’ and space for a snappy and catchy headline. The body of your press release should generally follow the rule of thumb of who, what, where, why and how – with the most important and exciting point in the intro. Be sure to include a quote from a relevant person in your business (depending on the subject, this is usually the business owner or managing director). At the end of the press release, remember to include your picture caption as well as some notes to editors (these are typically bullet points with background information about your company – when it was formed, how many employees, any awards won, etc).
4. Create a media list
As above, this is another handy timesaving tool. You can create a media list in any format you prefer, but I always use a simple excel spreadsheet. Whichever format you use, be sure to include the following details: publication name, journalist name, contact phone number and email address, deadline day and time, preferred way to be contacted (email, phone, Twitter) and any other relevant notes. With this document at the ready, you can see exactly which publications you’re going to target when you have anything newsworthy to say, and you can tailor your time and method of pitching to them effectively in order to maximise the likelihood they will feature your story (and, remember, steer clear of pitching anything on deadline day unless it’s breaking news!)
5. Write down your end goals and keep them in mind when it comes to any PR activity
Don’t waste your time and energy by running PR activity blindly. Write down your goals – whether that’s more leads, more website hits, greater brand awareness in your local area, a better social media following etc. Keep those objectives handy and always ask yourself whether your press release, media interview, event, PR stunt – or anything else you have planned throughout the year – is going to take you one step further to achieving that goal. If it isn’t, don’t bother with it. Your time will be better spent elsewhere.
So, there you have it – five New Year PR resolutions. Reckon you’ll keep them? If not, don’t fret. If your New Year’s resolution is to put your company’s PR in the hands of an expert – get in touch. Call me on 07837 858195, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to see how I can help.