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Monday, 23 November 2009

Top tips for effective PR

One of the best ways of making people aware of your business is through PR.

It’s cost-effective and it can really create a buzz and get your name out there in the market. Here are a few tips on how to get it right:

  1. Know what media your customers refer to for information and target those outlets.

  2. Get to know the types of stories your target media are interested in using.

  3. Research which journalists cover which stories. Sending information to the right person means it’s more likely to be used.

  4. Tell readers something that will interest them or that they might need to know.

  5. Make sure your message is clear, concise and has an objective: what do you want your audience to do?

  6. Develop a relationship with the key media you are targeting.

  7. Follow up your story with the journalists you’ve sent it to. It’s the most important factor in a successful PR campaign.

  8. Think in pictures. Journalists love good-quality images so if your story needs a photo, make sure you provide them with a high-impact picture.

  9. Ask everyone in your organisation to suggest ideas for PR stories.

  10. When you generate good PR, make sure people in your organisation know about it – circulate coverage so everyone can share in the success.

  11. Stay focused and stick to your plan. By doing this you will get a great deal of positive publicity for your business and at very little cost.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

How to get press coverage

Q: How can my business get press coverage?

A: If a dog bites a man so what? But if a man bites a dog, well, that’s a great story!

Your news or information has the best chance of getting into the press if it’s interesting, quirky or unusual. It’s got to meet at least one of the following criteria:

Currency: news has a short shelf life. If your event is happening today, it’s newsworthy. If it happened last month, it’s history.

Human interest: the first, the best, the worst, the tallest, the shortest. If something stands out from everything else, it may be newsworthy. When a cat climbs a tree, it's not news; but when its 96-year-old owner climbs the tree to rescue the moggy, it is.

Impact: events that have an impact on people’s lives are always interesting and the more people affected by your story, the more significant it is.

Prominence: politicians, movie stars, star athletes, CEOs – anyone who’s in the public eye. The mayor is a prominent local figure, a story involving him or her opening your business is likely to make the news.

Proximity: if you want your local paper to run your story, make sure it’s relevant and interesting to those who’ll be reading it.

Eye-catching: a dramatic, unusual or quirky photo that tells a story is newsworthy if the quality is good. And a story with a good photo has an even better chance of getting used.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Crisis PR - Protecting the reputation of your business

Q: My business is facing difficulties and I’m worried that this will attract negative press coverage. How can I protect our reputation?

A: Every organisation is vulnerable to a crisis and whether you are facing an office closure, a product recall or an accident on site, if the public perceives you as compassionate, competent and confident, they are far more likely to believe and support what you say.

The sensational stories we all read about in the tabloids are examples of what happens when communications go wrong. While no one can predict a crisis, with a little foresight and preparation you can protect your reputation and turn a potential PR crisis into a media opportunity that wins you customer and public support.

Here are some of my tips on preparing for a crisis and how to get the best out of a bad situation:

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail – If you can step back and make an honest assessment of any potential issues in your organisation, you’ll be better prepared when a crisis hits. A little assistance from a professional communications firm can establish a basic framework so you can respond effectively when something does go wrong.

Show you care – Show sympathy and concern. Put yourself in the shoes of the people you’ve affected and shape your messages to address their concerns first.

Have a PR strategy – Decide what you need to tell people and who you need to tell before you speak to the media. And, select the right spokesperson for the job. If your CEO isn’t media savvy, can’t communicate well, or doesn’t really know the issues, choose someone who does.

Get your facts straight and tell the truth – The easiest way to make a fool of yourself is tell your side of the story without knowing the facts. Double-check your information with more than one source. And remember, journalists need information quickly. If they don’t get it from you, they’ll get it from someone else!

Manage the message – Make sure your own employees, suppliers and clients are never surprised by information going out to the public. And make sure they know not to speak to the media, but who to refer media enquiries to.

Never say ‘no comment’ – ‘No comment’ is always a comment so don’t ever say it – people will think you are hiding something!