How to become a global brand with PR
When something goes wrong, who does your business turn to? Your Public Relations team. Who do you call when you want to boost your brand image and authority in your niche proactively? Your Public Relations team.
Every business needs a PR strategy, no matter how big or small you are. It’s your plan for how you will prove your knowledge and worth to the world and your customers. With a good PR strategy and execution, you can get coverage in any publication to increase your business reach.
But how do you expect small businesses to compete with the big corporations employing high-priced Public Relations teams? It’s not as difficult as you may imagine. We discussed this recently when PR specialist Alicia Love Read joined us on the Tactical Titans podcast.
To accompany that episode, here are some more insights into public relations and how any sized business can successfully use a PR strategy.
Public relations 101
In short, PR is how you use communications and the media to boost your brand recognition and trust with the public. The Public Relations Society of America defines it as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
A public relations professional can be employed as an employee of your business, or you can outsource this to an independent consultant or PR agency. Either way, their job is to share your business’s stories and thought-provoking content with the media in hopes of getting coverage and increasing your business reach.
There are two sides to public relations: Positive storytelling and damage control. Today we’re going to focus on proactive, positive storytelling.
What makes a great PR pitch?
You can pitch the same story to a hundred reporters. But, if it’s not the right time or place, it will fall on deaf ears. Timing is everything in public relations. Many elements make for a good PR pitch, including:
- Tailoring your pitch to each reporter/outlet: This is huge. Take time to build genuine relationships with reporters in your niche. Get to know what kinds of stories they usually write about, and be sure to share what’s in it for them.
- Making sure it’s newsworthy: Pitches directly related to current events are more likely to be picked up. Other less timely stuff is still worth pitching but be prepared to be sidelined in favour of something happening now.
- Sharing a story: A PR pitch is not a sales pitch. The immediate goal of PR is not to make a sale but rather to build your brand credibility. The best way to do this is to share stories through your PR outreach. Everyone loves hearing a good story.
- Pitching the right outlets: You wouldn’t pitch “5 ways to step up your lipstick routine” to a high-level CEO and business publication. Make sure you don’t spam every reporter you know with your campaign. Ensure it’s something that suits the audience and specialty of the publication or the writer you’re contacting.
"It's so important to know who you're speaking to. And so, my process was always to take the time to do my due diligence to find out who that person is. What do they work on? What do they personally like? Are they on Instagram?"
Alicia Love Read, Tactical Titans, S2 E33
Common myths about PR
To some, the Public Relations world seems like this magical place where deals are struck in secret behind closed doors. Popular TV shows like Scandal have sensationalized and exaggerated the world of PR, as it relates to most businesses. In reality, PR is usually less “dramatic.”
Here are some common myths about the world of PR for businesses:
MYTH: You need a lot of money to get good PR.
Aside from consulting fees for a contract PR agency or employee wages, PR shouldn’t cost you much or anything at all. Paid placements in magazines and publications hold much less weight (on the trust scale) than organic coverage written by the publication’s writer.
MYTH: Good PR directly correlates to more sales.
The goal of public relations is not to sell more products. It’s more of a brand-building exercise that contributes to sales but not necessarily right away. Good PR exposure can help attract more clients and sales, but tracking sales directly linked to a PR campaign isn’t a metric many marketers will use.
MYTH: PR is about the “spin.”
Thanks to Hollywood, many people view all PR as putting a good spin on a bad situation. While that is sometimes the case, when you need damage control, it is more about exposing your expertise to more people and boosting your brand recognition as a trusted niche expert.
MYTH: PR results happen overnight.
Wouldn’t this be great! Sadly, PR is a longer game that doesn’t often yield immediate results unless your pitch is exceptionally timely. It takes time for PR professionals to build relationships with reporters so they run your story. It also takes time to build up reader trust in your brand.
How to handle rejections with grace
It’s so hard to keep hearing “No” repeatedly, especially when it’s related to something you love, like your business. But actually, “No” may be more beneficial than a “Yes.”
Why? Because there is always something important to learn from rejection. It means that either your PR pitch was terrible, wasn’t directed to the right person or outlet, or just isn’t newsworthy enough right now. See what you can learn from failed pitches and apply that learning to boost the chances of success for future pitches.
"I think most people think they can't reach out. So they don't, they just don't, and they just put that block up right away. And that's the end of it. But the worst thing that can happen is that someone just won't return your phone call, or won't answer your email. And there's nothing to stop us from continuing to reach out until we finally reach someone."
Alicia Love Read, Tactical Titans, S2 E33
How can your small business grow with PR?
Any business can get good, global PR if you go about it the right way. Here are three more tips from PR specialist Alicia Love Read to get your brand noticed by the media:
- Do your due diligence: When reaching out to the media, get to know the person you’re talking to. What do they write about? Where are they most active? What can YOU do for THEM?
- Build genuine relationships: If the roles were reversed, how would you want someone to reach out to you? Be authentic. Consider connecting on social media to start forming that relationship.
- Identify your brand differentiators: Ultimately, it comes down to whether you have a story. What are your brand’s mission and core values? What differentiates you from others? How is this of interest to the public?
Listen to TACTICAL TITANS, presented by Justin Lam
Ready to dive deeper into business PR with Alicia Love Read? Catch our latest episode of TACTICAL TITANS to learn more about making PR work for your business, no matter your size. Listen now
Are you looking for more hands-on coaching and business advice to help you gain clarity and confidence in your decision-making? Our TACTICAL coaching program is specially designed to support small business owners and entrepreneurs through the detours and get you back on track to your destination. Learn more