How to get started with PR

Never contemplated PR before? Don’t know where to start? Do you even have an inkling what PR is? You wouldn’t be the first.

One thing people always ask is, what is PR? To answer this is to ask, what is sport? What is literature? The answers could keep going on and on.

A more relevant question these days could well be, what is the most effective form of PR? There’s so many approaches that you can easily burn yourself out if you try them all.

The humble press release was once the mainstay of PR, and while it serves a purpose and often forms a huge part of many a campaign, but to think of public relations as just this these days is short-sighted and frankly, a missed opportunity.

The variety of ways you can get your message across is myriad these days. Podcasts, opinion pieces, newsjacking, features, social media content, specialised video content, subscription services, event management and much more all make up what is a fast-diminishing line in what constitutes PR and what constitutes marketing. 

A marketers job is to get the product in front of the right customer, a PR professional’s job is to tell people why and to provide the story behind it.

So where to start? Rather than spread yourself thinly and try everything under the sun, first review what it is you want to express. Is it simply to sell your product or is it more reputational? Do you simply want to shift units or do you want lasting brand recognition that is backed by your own specialised, unique knowledge? PR can do both, but the focus should always be on the latter. Establish yourself as the leader in your industry and sales and enquiries will be their own reward.

Be the source

What is it that makes your business stand out? What strikes you as unique about what it is you do? Finding that elusive line is essential. Once you know this, it’s simply a case of sizing up the market. What can you do to amplify that message? Where are your audience most likely consuming the media? If you can be the go-to person in your niche, then you are more well-placed than anyone else in your industry to encourage naturally-occurring enquiries and sales, simply by becoming trusted.

How to do this?

Think about what is happening in your space right now. Is there a subject that only you will be an authority on? Find out which publications and news sources are open to opinion pieces or contributions and offer your fountain of knowledge. Be the person they want to talk to and turn to when they need a comment. Don’t also be afraid of contributing to subjects your business might not be directly linked to as well. A perspective from another expert is always appreciated and adds to a news source’s credibility.

Ways in which you could contribute include:

  • Newsjacking: Keep abreast of the latest news stories, particularly those that are headline news and even more importantly, ones that are relevant to your sector. If you are in finance for example, what implications are there for major issues such as COVID-19 or Brexit? What would another country leaving the EU mean for your sector and others?
  • Opinion pieces: Again, using the finance example, is there a piece of legislation that is incoming that could affect businesses of all sizes? What do you or your most clued-up professionals think this could mean? Can you provide something integral that’s not previously been mentioned?
  • Content creation: Set up a blog to show your knowledge of your own industry and its potential impact on others. Use video and written sections, combined with real resources such as photography, infographics and other usable content to leverage your pitching to the media.
  • Broadcast your opinion: Podcasts are a fantastic tool for modern PR. Record your opinion or musings on a recent subject, publish it to the world and then use it as collateral for marketing, pitching and reputational management. Collaborate with other businesses to make sure it’s varied and relevant.

The key with PR is to keep things as contemporaneous as a journalist or reporter would. Contemporaneous means to be timely, relevant and as true to the present day as possible. Lose that relevance and you may as well be talking to yourself. If you can remain essential as a source, then PR will be a relatively easy win for any business. The difficulty comes with consistency. You have to become a constant creator, a tireless machine that can keep up with trends and know what to say, to who and when.

It’s a fine balance, but PR can be one of your best marketing tools.

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PR Team | Distract

Distract’s PR team lead on a host of clients covering the B2B and B2C sector. Engaging both in traditional PR campaigns and cutting edge newswriting, the team also delivers ambitious, link-grabbing digital campaigns.

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