I have worked in PR for longer than I want to admit, but I can safely say that if I had a pound for every time someone said, ‘oh yeah, that’s free advertising’ I would be able to buy myself a new handbag of pair of shoes, and we aren’t talking about a trip to Primark here people.
PR isn’t rocket science, it isn’t ER and if you know your stuff, it isn’t hard, but it is hard work if you want to get results.
It takes time, money and resources to be seen in the press over and over again, so today I want to pull apart the misconceptions that are often found floating around meetings rooms as people network, or added to threads in social media groups, and which are all too often, wrong.
Now is the time to clear up some of the confusion so that you can see that PR can be an effective way for you to communicate with your target audience, grow your business and drive sales.
There is no way on earth that I would say that PR is free. This form of communication is very much an investment of your time, staff, resources, your energy, intuition, products and creativity, and it is up to you how you divide all of this up.
Yes, you can pay a consultant like me to do the work for you, but that is a real dig deep work out the sums costs, but even when you do it yourself, your time and energy will be taken away from other elements of your business, so work out if it’s the right thing for you.
It is great to be seen on the pages of glossy magazines and to hear your voice on podcasts (maybe) but if this exposure isn’t going to help you grow your business, they those places might not be right for you. Look at what your target audience read, use and listen to, know those media outlets inside out and back to front and then see if you belong there, and if so, where.
PR is all about doing your homework and research, so at the start, get it right, invest your time and just see what the options are and you can then make a totally informed decision for you.
Don’t give away stuff just because! If you decide that working an influencer on Instagram is what will work for you, then you need the right collaborations. It is so easy to just say yes to anyone who shows a little interest – remember those initial friends you made at school before you had time to suss the playground out?? This is the same, so look at their blog or watch the vlog, check out their social media feeds and you will soon see if it’s a yes or no for you and your brand.
Now, this is serious because stalking journalists on Twitter and sending out endless pointless emails to bloggers isn’t PR, but it could get you a bad rep! Yes, you can get in touch, but please don’t suggest they ‘slide into their DMs’, instead write a concise, well thought out email to see what common ground is there and take time to build relationships because that’s what will see you though the good times, and the bad.
If you make a mistake, own up to it and take responsibly. PR is about transparent and being honest, so if you want to keep the trust and respect you have worked so hard to earn, answer the tricky questions and show you care and that it’s not just smoke and mirrors and a big fat bottom line.
PR today does involved social media (the index of my next book proved that) but pleased don’t just scheduling content and then let things turn into tumbleweed. People want to engage, so if you have a blog post, Tweet of FB Live, use it to interact with people and build the connections that are so key to success.
The main thing I want you to take away today is that PR isn’t just for big businesses, it is also for hard-working, inspirational people just like you. Yes, Kate Moss and the Kardashians will hit the headlines all the time, but there is room for you in the media too! As I said, do your research, see where you fit on the page and get involved!
PR takes determination and hard work, you can’t stop at the first ‘no thanks’ and while it isn’t something you’ll crack in a day, it is something you can master over time.
Watch out for the next post from me as I will be giving away a signed copy of ‘PR School Your Time to Shine’ so you can really get to grips with publicity for your business. http://www.pr-school.co.uk/