By Robert Middleton - Action Plan Marketing
Guest Article by my associate, Susan Harrow
Would you like to do PR in your business but have no idea what to do or where to start?
If you do PR correctly you can get the following results:
Your phone rings, orders come flying in, meeting planners can't wait to book you for speaking engagements, literary agents vie for your book, joint venture partners call you to do business together. You're revered and respected. And you've got money in your pocket.
But creating and carrying out a PR campaign seems to be an impossible task when there is so much to learn and so many things that don't make sense.
Maybe we'd all like a publicist or PR firms to do this for us. Someone who has the connections to the media, someone who can write the press materials, make the calls to the media, book the appearances and make sure everything happened smoothly and at the right time. So we can just run our business.
But in working with thousands of clients, I learned that most make so many mistakes trying to do their own publicity or hiring a publicist on the cheap or for a hefty retainer with even heftier promises, that they don't get very far with it.
Here are "Six Worst Mistakes in Building Your Business with PR" that most people make and what you need to do instead.
1. You write a press release telling all about the greatness of your business, book, product, service or cause.
Most people don't get this. The media and their audiences aren't interested in you, your service or your stuff. They ARE interested in a good story or something that gives them what they need that can help them save time, energy, or money. The media are interested in how you can serve their audiences, not what you can get from them.
Most people think about themselves first and talk about "me me me" or "my new neat thing." But take a look through the viewpoint of the journalist or producer and you'll see a different picture. A view from their audience and what might resonate most with them from THEIR point of view. Your press release should paint that picture for them.
2. You send a big blast to a list of "The most important" media.
In the PR business this is called "spray and pray." In order to have the desired effect from your media i.e. for your press released to get "picked up" it needs to go to the right people whose audiences are eager for your information. This means identifying the type of media that would be best suited to your information along with the best people who are interested in your topic.
To accomplish this you can either become a member of a press release service that can help you segment your media list properly, hire a publicist who understands your business and the media who are right for you, or attend a program and learn how to decipher the best lists for you (more on this later).
3. You're not media ready.
Most people never get media coached. This is their biggest downfall. It's often the missing link in an otherwise successful PR campaign. They have worked hard for years creating and promoting an excellent business, service or product, but have forgotten the most crucial step to gaining loyalty from the people they want as clients or customers -- what they are going to say to engage them.
A long time ago Marshall McLuhan said, "The medium is the message." This still holds true. And to go even deeper, Gandhi said, "My life is my message." In today's environment you and your story are sometimes more important than whatever you're promoting. And you need to be able to convey that in 10-30 seconds - sometimes less - so people will buy or buy into whatever you are promoting.
4. You aren't prepared for all the pre-work before a media booking.
Producers and journalists also expect you to be ready to jump at their beck and call when they need something when they're putting together a show or a print story. So you need to be ready to drop everything to get them what they need now.
It's a lot of work, but if you're prepared ahead of time it can substantially reduce the "get ready in a rush" factor and make you stand out from all your competitors vying for the same coveted media spots. Once you understand the most common press kit components and how to create them to the media's specifications you'll be half-way there to becoming an excellent, reliable media source.
5. You don't deliver what you promise.
While there is a lot of stuff and nonsense going on in the media today, and everyone is clamoring for their 5 minutes of fame, the more well-known the publication or show the more professional and prepared you need to be. Producers and journalists have to slog through thousands of inappropriate, dull, or unworthy news items every day from people trying to get publicity.
Most people don't realize all the work that goes into creating a show or an article BEHIND the scenes to make sure audiences stay tuned or keep reading in today's competitive marketplace. Once you're booked on a show or for an interview that's when the real work begins. You have to give the journalist or producer news that they can use in a way that is already packaged properly. Being "mediagenic" means that both you and your product are easily understood instantly in layman's terms.
6. You don't have your systems in place when success comes.
That saying, "Luck favors the prepared" still holds true. Your back-end needs to be set up so when orders start flying in and more media people call you you are set up to handle all your good fortune. I and Karen were just recently working with a client who almost didn't get her website up in time to handle all the orders generated from flood of responses from the press -- over 50 -- from major national magazines and TV shows as well as from influential bloggers.
The main reason I didn't write this article is that I've never really done PR. I haven't needed to. But I've seen how, when done correctly, it can catapult a business from an unknown entity to a household name almost overnight. But what most people don't see is the sweat beneath the glamorous exterior.
There's a lot of preparation that goes on behind the scenes to make it all happen seamlessly. That's where Susan Harrow and Karen Leland come in. Together they have 45+ years of experience with the media helping their clients, everyone from CEOs to celebrity chefs, become known, loved, and prosperous. They both specialize in independent contractors, sole proprietors and entrepreneurs who want to make money while making a difference.
Karen and Susan are putting on a special PR Telecourse in the spring, but meanwhile to get you started, you can get a free audio and transcript called from them called: "Becoming a 60-Second Sound bit Genius."
You can get it at this link:
The More Clients Bottom Line: PR, like any marketing activity takes know-how and practice. But if you have the kind of business that's ready to put yourself out in a major way, you need to learn the necessary how-tos to have the impact you want.
Have you used PR successfully in your business? Please share your answer on the More Clients Blog by clicking on the Comments link below.