By Sophie Barrington
Founder, Archer Creative
Want more media exposure for your equine business?
Landing prime editorial can be challenging, but with the right approach, you can gain the press attention you desire.
In this blog post, I share 10 important lessons for attracting positive PR for your business, launch or cause, including the top five dos and five don’ts.
To listen to the original podcast version, featured on Horse Chats Show, click here.
To begin, let’s answer the question: ‘What is PR?’ PR is the acronym for Public Relations. Public Relations is the opposite of advertising. Unlike advertising, where you have to pay for placement, Public Relations is not paid for. Public Relations is also far more effective than paid advertising for three reasons:
1. It’s often more cost-effective than paid advertising and has a far greater return on investment, or ROI.
2. A story has greater impact than an advertisement. It will be remembered by more people for a longer period of time.
3. There is a higher level of credibility attached to a story written about your business, rather than one you write yourself.
#1. Get clear on your goals
When done right, PR is one of the most powerful ways to help you build influence, authority and awareness. However, while gaining media attention may sound exciting, it should be used strategically and, at times, sparingly for greatest effect.
Any PR campaign should start with your end goals in mind. Get specific about the outcomes you want to achieve. If you are promoting a new product, certainly sales will be your #1 priority. But, there are a number of other metrics that are important.
These may be:
- More website traffic
- Subscribers to your email list
- Or followers on social media
#2. Start where your customers are
When we think of Public Relations, we often think of newspapers and magazines. But, there’s a tonne of other opportunities. It all comes down to knowing what your customers are reading, watching and listening to, as well as who they’re following.
Traditional newspapers and magazines, television and radio are just one segment of possible PR channels. You might also consider bloggers, vloggers and influencers; industry websites, streaming channels and celebrities.
If you’re not sure where your customers are, run a short survey with a small list of your current customers. Just 10-50 survey responses can help you pinpoint the PR channels where your message will have the greatest impact.
#3. Go deep with your research
It’s not enough to shortlist the publications you want to reach out to. Editors and journalists get bombarded with hundreds of emails per day; many containing self-promoting press releases that are immediately archived or deleted.
First, you need to get to know the publication and that means reading, watching or listening to a bunch of their latest stories. This will help you understand the topics, tone and other nuances that make this publication unique.
Second, you need to find the right person to contact. Get started by collating their full name and email address, then go deeper with your research. This will help you create a more personal message when it comes time to reach out.
#4. Write a compelling story
Now that you’ve identified the publication and person, it’s time to focus on your press release. The best press releases generate a win-win. They are good for you, for the writer, for the reader and for the publication. Anything less won’t get published.
Think about how you can comment on a wider issue or trend, then link it back to your business. Some of the common ways businesses do this is by releasing interesting research, or focusing on an angle that’s unusual, rare or unexpected.
Remember, news must be new and timing is everything. Don’t wait until a week before your product launch to send a press release. Many publications work weeks, if not months, ahead. Have a plan in place to get press coverage at the right time.
#5. Create a complete press release
You’ve set your goals, done your research and written the world’s best press release. But, you’re not ready yet. Time is a precious resource and your press release has limited time to get opened, read and actioned on.
It’s your job to make this as easy as possible for the recipient. This means adding all the information an editor, journalist or other influencer may need to tell your story. Include your logo, images, free demo or trial, and any relevant links.
At the bottom of your press release, you should include contact information to ensure they can reach you. Footnotes can also be added here to showcase any references you’ve used, along with some background information about your business.
#1. Don’t set unrealistic expectations
Just because you’ve spent time perfecting your PR campaign, doesn’t mean it will produce the immediate results you’re seeking. You may have to continue building relationships with media for many months, or even years, to finally get published.
That being said, if you don’t get an immediate response from your press release, it doesn’t mean it’s an automatic failure. Persistence and consistency pay off. Be prepared to follow up with the recipient several times, without harassing them.
Typically, you will receive a response within several days if they’re interested. But a friendly email once per week is acceptable to remain front of mind with your target media. If you don’t receive a response after several tries, move on to another outlet.
#2. Don’t be difficult to contact
After spending so much time on your PR campaign, don’t slow down at the final turn and be difficult to reach. As you can imagine, nothing is more frustrating to a busy editor or journalist when working under tight deadlines.
Even if you can’t always answer the phone, return missed calls immediately. If a journalist requests an interview, make time in your schedule to accommodate them, even if your own job is demanding also.
#3. Don’t limit yourself to opportunities
At times, we all miss the opportunities right in front of us. Don’t discredit press coverage in your local paper if it suits your story, even if you’re vying for a national publication. A local presence may work wonders if you’re a local business.
The same applies for print and online. Many newspapers and magazines have websites and blogs which offer unique advantages, such as search marketing. Often, its easier to get featured online due to the limitations of print.
You should also think outside the box when trying to build relationships with media. Make yourself available as a news source, invite local media to your events, engage with journalists and other influencers on social media, send them products to review.
#4. Don’t send a blanket press release
A blanket press release sent to a large number of publications undoes all the hard work you’ve done up until this point. Not only does it make you look lazy, but it fails to help you build long-lasting relationships with media.
Now, I’ll be honest with you here. From time to time, I help small business owners develop single press releases with the intention of distributing them to media. At times, it works and this press release results in press coverage for their business.
In these scenarios, small business owners are trying to save money and reach the widest media segment with the littlest work. But, for those businesses who are serious about building long-lasting relationships, I advocate against this practice.
#5. Don’t trade short-term gains for long-term relationships
If you’re not sure if PR is the right fit for your business or you have an angle, but feel under-confident in presenting it to media, the simplest thing you can do is start building relationships by reaching out for advice.
PR is a two-way street. Publications and influencers want to show they have their fingers on the pulse of the horse industry; and you want to generate interest in your products and services with excellent PR.
Rather than ram your story down their throat or utilise unethical practices, think ahead about how PR may be helpful to your horse business in the future. Start building your target media list and send them an email to introduce yourself.
Looking for some outside support? Don’t wait for success, create it — with the experts in equine marketing, Archer Creative. To learn more about how we can help you exceed your growth goals in 2019, call us on 1300 077 126 or visit www.archercreative.net.au.