At our July event Elin Rees gave us an introduction to the world of PR; what it is, why we need it and more importantly can we do it!?

PR or Public Relations is any coverage that will raise the profile of your business, and there are many forms of free editorial coverage that can be used to do this such as news stories, reviews, and blogs.  So, we can all do our own PR but is it always effective?  That’s where a PR professional comes in handy as they can use their contacts, creative ideas, and the ability to write good copy to help get people to hear about your business in the right way.  Using a PR professional can also add an air of credibility to your business and more importantly, help you manage those media crises!

However, for those of us with smaller marketing budgets, we can all do a little PR ourselves, as long we give it time and focus.  Elin gave us some key points to help create an effective PR campaign:

  • Devise a PR plan covering print/online/radio/tv and Social Media!
  • Pull together press materials and assets, e.g.:
    • Press release
    • Biographies
    • Publicity pictures/vidoes/logos
  • Draw up a status document which outlines your plan of attack

So now you have your plan you need to use your contacts effectively, but how do you make those good contacts in the first place:

  1. Know and research your target media
  2. Pitch your ideas and stores directly
  3. Keep a contacts list
  4. Engage on social media
  5. Invite contacts to events
  6. Ask for feedback – all feedback is useful!
  7. Don’t be a pest
  8. Say THANKS!

So we have the plan and we have the contacts, next step is to write a good press release!  As a seasoned PR professional Elin provided the following excellent tips to help us beginners:

  • Keep the headline simple
  • Put all the key information in the first 2 paragraphs – who, what, why, where and when
  • Add in a quote and then the supporting information
  • Place the contact details at the bottom of the release
  • Keep it short and to the point
  • Make it interesting and lively – add key facts
  • Check and double check your grammar and then get someone else to check it too!
  • Use a good image or logo

Next step, prepare for press interviews! We have all heard (and read) the horror stories where people have been interviewed and one wrong comment can change the course of their career – to avoid this Elin gave the following tips on how to prepare for press interviews:

  • Ask if it is face to face or over the phone
  • Find out the deadline and keep to it
  • Prepare – write down your key messages
  • Find out about pictures – will they be taking any and can you keep them
  • Be personable and keep it real
  • During the interview remind them of the event or product details
  • Follow up after the interview

With a few short tips on how to get on the radio and then how to prepare for radio interviews Elin had provided us with a whistle stop introduction to PR and how to do it, which left us all with plenty of ideas of how we can increase the PR for our own businesses, but if you haven’t got the time or the inclination to do it – just call in the professionals!

To find out more about the work Elin does why not follow her on twitter @elin_rees!