Behind every great feature, an influential story or a contemplative review of a company is a strong public relations team. The main agenda of PR firms is to pick up a story or event and reframe it in a way that arouses genuine interest in your target audience about your business, thus giving you an edge over your competitors.
Many people argue that with the advent of social networking and blogging, one need not spend exorbitant amounts on traditional publicity campaigns that don't even deliver a five percent ROI. But the fact is that no advertisement can beat the reach and impact of a feature in a publication. The credibility that comes with a media story is unmatched. However, early-stage startups may not have a budget to hire the services of a PR firm right away. Nathan Millard, Founder and CEO of G3partners Asia, says,
“There is no one time that a startup should decide to hire a PR agency. A lot of PR can be done for free and I always recommend that startups get up to scratch with PR themselves first and only hire an agency when they really need to.”
So test the waters first, try your hand at it and find reasonable PR resources and marketing strategies that will make your business become more media-friendly. Here are five tips that will help you attract eyeballs and reach out to your target audience without burning a hole in your pocket on exorbitant PR activities.
Have a press-friendly website
Have a website that is responsive across all platforms. Your website should tell your story in a clear and crisp manner and must have a user-friendly interface. Consider that one of your social media posts piques the interest of a journalist looking for an interesting story. The journalist’s first move would be to visit your website and gather as much information as possible. If your website is able to provide all the relevant information about your business and how to get in touch with you, it will increase the chances of a groundbreaking story being reported on you.
Make media influencers your friends
Socialising always helps. Whether you want to put a word out about your business or grab the attention of influencers who can promote your business well on the right platform, socialising will prove beneficial. Similarly, make good connections with prominent journalists in your industry. Once you have identified a list of influencers who would be interested in talking about your business, reach out and cultivate a relationship with them and pitch your story idea. Maintaining regular communication with the right contacts is also a great way to keep the ship moving.
Capitalise on current events
If you want to reach out to a large audience, keep yourself abreast of major events taking place in and around the world, especially ones that have a direct impact on your company. Whatever you choose to do, be it writing a blog or sharing your views actively on public forums, it should be relevant and add noteworthy content to the issue in question. On the other hand, leveraging seasonal pitches is also a great way to offer timely stories that aren't all about your company.
Volunteer to speak on public platforms
Regardless of whether you have a bootstrapped business or a successful, well-funded organisation, there are many people out there who would be interested in knowing about your journey and the failures and achievements that came along. Offer to share your entrepreneurial experience at appropriate venues such as business seminars, conferences, and other interactive platforms.
Collaborate with non-profits
The media loves non-profits, and there’s nothing better than collaborating with a non-profit organisation to leverage some press attention. Collaboration between non-profit organisations and profit-driven businesses is increasing and is becoming strategically important. Such collaborations provide a conceptual framework for possible evolution through philanthropic activities and contribute to effective marketing.
Performing public relations without a strategic communications plan allows you to test the waters and hone your reputation-building skills in real time. Follow these tips and make your business PR-friendly without burning cash.