Why PR is Mr Right, not Mr Right Now
Public relations is a long-term commitment, it isn’t just one-off press releases being pushed out to journalists. Good PR builds the profile, reputation and credibility of a person or business through sustained, consistent and strategic PR activities.
Journalists are more likely to interview someone they know and have a good relationship with, rather than someone who sporadically sends a press release announcing company news.
So if you are looking at your PR activities, make sure you have a long-term, constant plan and don’t just dip in and out, otherwise your results will suffer.
Just like you are more likely to do business with someone you know and trust, journalists are the same. This means a number of things for your PR strategy when dealing with the media:
- Always deliver on your promises. If you tell a journalist you can get them a high resolution colour image by 2pm on Tuesday, send them a high resolution colour image before 2pm on Tuesday,
- don’t ask to see an article before it’s printed. Journalists have a job to do and their role isn’t to write what you want them to. They do have to be factually correct, but unless you’re paying for an article, don’t ask to see it before it’s printed,
- read the publications you want to be quoted in. This will help you to get to know a journalist’s style and what they like to write about. If you send a press release about how a SME owner can better their marketing to a journalist who writes about HR, you’re going to burn a bridge that may not be salvageable, and
- do not ring a journalist on deadline. Take some time to figure out when a journalist is going to be most busy. For example, do not ring the producer of a morning television show at 8am, their show is on air and they do not care about your story unless it is truly breaking news with national significance.
Don’t just share information about new client wins or contracts, or when your business wins an award but rather share your expertise. Think about what the readers of the publication, or viewers or listeners, would want to know. What information can you impart to help others build their businesses?
Don’t expect fantastic results the first time
Just like when you were a teenager and falling in love for the first time, chances are that person isn’t going to be ‘the one’. With PR, don’t expect a two-page spread in BRW the first time you contact a journalist with a story. While some get lucky, the majority have to build their profile in the media before landing that white whale.
If you want your PR strategy to work, you need to be consistently working at it. It’s similar to trying to lose weight – you can’t be healthy for one day a month and the rest of it pig out and do no exercise – if you want to see results it will take consistent effort.
If you stop your PR activities for a period of time, your momentum will drop off and you may have to go back to square one. Put aside some time each week to focus on your PR activities or make it one of your core KPIs to ensure you keep yourself on track.
If you do make the decision to do PR for your business, recognise it is a marriage, not a fling and be prepared for a long-term commitment.