When embracing the power of public relations, it’s crucial that you get the fundamentals in place so that your efforts aren’t wasted. A few simple tricks can make the difference between some nice name-checks in a magazine, and a genuine return on investment. Here’s a few quick tips to remember…

1. Clarify your message
Before carrying out any PR activity, you need to know exactly what your company’s key messages are. Identify what you can offer prospects that your competitors can’t, sum up what your main objective is as a business, and consider the crucial elements of your service or product offering. By doing this early on, you’ll ensure that any content, interviews or commentary you’re putting in the public domain positions your company appropriately and correctly.

2. Identify your most important media targets
Pick 5-10 publications with the most relevant audiences to your company, and make them a priority for your PR activity. Yes, quantity coverage is impressive to see, but you need to ensure that your prospects are reading what you’re getting published – otherwise it’s wasted. If you get a chance, speak to your customers and find out what they read. Get to know these publications really well – what their regular features are, what sort of topics they cover and what content they’d be open to receive from you – so you can focus your PR efforts and get quality results too.

3. Maximise your coverage through other channels
When you receive a piece of press coverage, make the most of it! Share it on your social feeds, reference it in newsletters to prospects and post it on your website. It’s also important to share it internally, so your colleagues are aware of how your brand is building in the media and can share it with their own networks. Sharing coverage can be a great talking point, an opportunity to engage online and also a chance to build better relationships with the publication that published it.

4. Let your expertise speak for itself
When writing any content for a publication, start by thinking about what articles you’d like to read if you were browsing a magazine or website, rather than beginning with what you want to say about your own brand. Generally, advice or opinion articles will be well received as you’re offering tips for free, but pushing your own company name too much will switch people off. Make your writing anecdotal and let the by-line do the talking.

5. Don’t use PR as your sales function
Finally, don’t forget that PR is only part of the story – you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket. Ensure your PR activity is part of an integrated communications plan and recognise it as an essential tool to build your brand’s profile. It should work alongside any existing marketing or sales activity, not instead of. The should work together to grow your business.

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