PR can be an extremely cost-effective way to market your business and gain brand awareness. It is especially valuable when you have a limited budget to get the word out about your products and services. At Dallas Startup Week today, I heard a panel discussion from PR experts called “Pitch & Be Pitched: How to Use PR to Your Start-up’s Advantage.” During the panel moderated by Christina Collins of 501ops, Melodie Elliott, Managing Director at Sunwest Communications, Rebekah Epstein, Founder of Fifteen Media, Christina Nielson of D Magazine and Krista Nightengale of Better Block Foundation shared tips and tricks for how to cut through the noise and grow your brand.
Executing a PR plan allows you to establish your brand reputation both on and off-line. Here are a few tactics that will help you achieve that:
Have a content marketing strategy.
One of the easiest ways to have an impact is by employing a content marketing strategy. Publishing articles or videos in a blog can be a great way to get attention from customers as well as media representatives. With all the tools available today, it’s never been easier to start creating your own content. And the more compelling the content you produce, the more you’ll be building your brand reputation and establishing yourself as an authority within your chosen niche. Keep your content succinct and solution-oriented. If you can focus on a particular problem faced by your target audience and offer them your product or service as the solution, you’ll have success. You can employ the same principal when putting together a direct PR pitch or press release. This is the kind of content that magazines and newspapers are looking to publish. For more on the power of content marketing, see the blog post written by my colleague, Roger, here.
I can’t say this enough. In today’s world, any marketing effort you embark upon should include a social media strategy. Not surprisingly, social media has also become a great public relations channel. If you want to build a strong reputation online and develop and maintain a strong community of followers, social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn can be very valuable. But keep in mind, that you aren’t likely to have the time to focus on every channel (unless you have a large internal team poised to do so). I recommend selecting one or two channels where you think you’ll get the greatest return to focus your efforts.
Build your Media Network.
Become a trusted source of information in your area of specialization with reporters and journalists. You need to build a reputation for giving meaningful and honest information. Over time, this will lead to getting high quality media mentions for your brand. The better relationship you have with the media, the better your exposure and success will be. Often, this is where a company needs outside help, as PR professionals have already cultivated and developed the kind of collaborative relationships with the media that you need to utilize.
In the end, remember that PR takes time, patience and consistency. If you’re smart, have a plan and follow these recommended tactics, you’ll eventually have success.