Jumping into PR without preparing yourself beforehand is like running to the market without your wallet. Or your grocery list. You’ll need a few things in order before you skip ahead on your PR journey. But it’s totally doable!
Preparing yourself in advance will give you a head start and lay the foundations for a successful media strategy.
Take time to get your branding and materials to help you present the best possible version of yourself and prepare for journalist questions and requests. Here are ten steps to help you get ready for your PR journey.
1. Do your competitive research.
It’s time to head over to your Google search bar. Look up similar brands to yours and find out where they are being featured. One quick trick is to select “News” in the menu at the top of your search results. That way you’ll see recent coverage across channels and platforms.
If you’re the owner of a sustainable t-shirt company, look up other sustainable clothing brands to see where they’re being featured. If you’re a diversity and inclusion consultant, search for other consultants in your field and see what pops up in the news.
Find examples of media coverage featuring businesses similar to yours, and note the angle and topic used:
Which media outlets, podcasts, blogs, etc, are your competitors featured in?
What topics and angles do they use?
As you’re taking notes on where other brands are featured, take a moment to consider who you want to get in front of and whether your ideal audience consumes the same media as your competitors’ audience.
2. Think about your angle.
In addition to thinking about the media you want to be featured in (print, TV, radio, digital) you need to consider how you’ll make your small business appeal to them. Take a look at the types of stories they share, and ask yourself:
Why is your story relevant to this media outlet?
How will it appeal to the outlet’s audience?
Another way to think about your angle is to identify what sets you apart. Do you have a unique founder’s story? How are you shaking up your industry or space?
You don’t need to be the first-ever sustainable candle company or the only-of-its-kind anti-racism campaign to have a powerful PR message. You only need to know your own unique story. (And I can help you with that. Find out about my Power Hour or get in touch here.)
3. Make a list of media outlets.
Now that you have a better idea of where competitors are being featured and the types of angles you might take, it’s time to make your list of outlets. Which specific media outlets do you want to target? Create a Google Sheet or use your favourite project management tool to start making a list of your target outlets.
If you want to take it a step further, you could even rate each outlet in order of preference or priority. That way, when it’s time to send your pitches you know where to focus your efforts.
4. Save contact information and pitch guidelines.
While you’re on each website, see what you can find out about contact information and pitching.
Is there a media contact form?
Are their pitch guidelines?
Do they list an email address?
If no specific email is listed for the journalist you'd like contact, email the editorial assistant or a general email address and ask where to send pitches, press releases or news items. Once you find out, add the information to your list so you remember in the future. There’s nothing worse than losing track of contact info when you’re ready to share a press release!
5. Update your online presence.
Does your Instagram bio still list your old niche or an outdated link? Has your blog been ignored for the last 11 months? Don’t be hard on yourself, it happens! Carve some time in your calendar to make updates and keep your online presence fresh.
If that means publishing a quick blog post, getting active on your Twitter feed, or adding in new highlights to Instagram, show your online presence some love. With an updated online presence, you’ll help journalists get to know you better. And you’ll build more trust with your audience, too!
6. Gather your prominent content.
One of the best ways to demonstrate your brand image is to share previous accolades and features. Gather your customer reviews, previous coverage you’ve had, accreditations (important in sustainability!) or awards you’ve won. Then you’ll be ready to share with journalists when the time comes.
7. Collect case studies and testimonials.
Think about the projects, services, or products that have had the biggest impact. How have you made your clients’ lives easier or brought in more revenue for them? Put together case studies with impressive data and feedback about your work.
While you’re at it, ask your happy clients to share testimonials about what it was like working with you. Then you can make sure that you can show journalists — and potential clients — what you’ve accomplished.
8. Create an image folder.
Journalists will always ask for high-resolution images (1-2MB), so be prepared with great quality digital images that you can send out as soon as you’re asked. Try to grab a variety— some from your website and some that are not found online.
9. Be prepared for questions.
If you were a journalist, what would you want to know about your brand? Create a document and make a list of fast facts so you’re ready. Be prepared to answer questions about you and your company.
10. Know your brand story.
Do you have your brand story ready to share? Take some time to understand your brand story if you haven’t already. Then you can give journalists a flavour of your business, its background, values and aims.
Prepare to get ahead!
I know it seems like a lot to do, but it’s in your business’ best interest to be ready when you're pitching. You don’t want to be scrambling when the journalists start calling.
For more guidance in handling the media, book a coaching session with me. Schedule a free 15-minute consultation today.