Each week, Gemma Guise at Journolink looks at how to craft the perfect press release in order to get your business the attention it deserves. This week, in an exclusive 4-part series for Talk Business magazine, she looks at how to engage a PR firm so that they will promote your story.
There is nothing so powerful than the risk of losing a well paying contract. So a sure fire way of keeping a PR firm pitching for you is to sign up to a big monthly retainer. Then they will be on your case the whole time, tying to get you coverage, and at the very least telling you everything they are doing in the hope that you stick with them. But most smaller businesses simply don’t have the budget to be able to commit to a big retainer.
So it’s worth reflecting on what you, as the business, can do to make the PR firm really want to work with you, almost to the extent of giving you a free service. And that comes down to two simple rules:
• Really have something different to say
• Make life easy and enjoyable for the PR firm
On the first rule, nothing pleases a PR firm more than getting good coverage for their client. Not necessarily because they like doing a good job for them, but what is far more important is building up their coverage track record for them to use as they pitch to new clients. So your good coverage becomes their marketing story. If you have a really good story, or something different, that journalists will fight over, you are the PR firm’s best friend and they will want you on their books whatever the price. So your challenge is to create that story, putting a spin on it that would have absolutely everyone wanting to read about it. Don’t just focus on what you do. Get your head into the mind set of the reader and position your story to that. For instance, no one is interested in you designing a new trainer, but they are interested in being able to knock 14 seconds off the world running record. So your news should focus not around being a trainer manufacturer, but rather that you are in the business of helping people smash their personal bests. So, first rule, have something really different to say, and say it well.
Moving onto the second rule is an extension of the first. Once you have that good story, make the PR firm’s life easy by presenting the opportunity well and as a result help them to place it. You come up with the spin and the words and support this with a really good graphic. Then make sure you are available 24/7 to talk to the journalist or broadcaster whenever the approach comes.
But when the approach does come, make sure you are really good with the journalist. In other words make sure your media training is good. There are plenty of free tips you can pick up from various web sites. Visit www.journolink.com for one, and then rehearse what your lines are, so that when the call comes, you really win over the journalist.
That will ensure coverage, and a big smile on the PR firm’s face, and that’s the time too to knock down the cost of the retainer, or switch to a much more affordable on line DIY option like Journolink.