After being in the PR business for 15 years, there have been WAY too many companies – mostly start-ups – that think they are ready for PR but are simply not.
When you think about the importance of first impressions when you launch, there are key elements that must be in place to make it a positive experience. And those first impressions are for your customers first and foremost and then the journalists who will immediately turn to Google once they receive an interesting press release or pitch about your company. So, if you don’t have the necessary tools – a public launch or campaign could easily flop.
Get these 3 elements in place before you hire a PR rep:
- Website. You may have a landing page or full-blown website, but does it have a section for a blog, and does it operate seamlessly? Also, make sure you don’t bombard the reader with too much information and use language that everyone understands. Remember, users often leave web pages in 10–20 seconds so be clear, concise, and to the point. Make sure you can check all those boxes.
- Social Media. DO NOT WAIT to start social media. Just like a website, your social platforms will be part of that first impression. Also, it takes time to build a following so you’ll want to start right away. If you don’t have content of your own, just post industry articles that are relevant to your business and comment on why it’s important. You can have family, friends, and colleagues support you and help get the ball rolling with likes, comments, and shares. Then, as you get more content from a blog, media hits, and visual posts, you can continuously build the brand’s following and work on boosting engagement. Also, journalists are very active on social media and rely heavily on social media to get their stories seen, so when a company launches without much of a social presence, it gives off an impression that it’s a very small company not worth covering from a media perspective.
- Resources. The relationship you have with your PR /marketing rep is important and one that should be a priority. There should be at least one person internally that works with the PR/marketing team and participates in calls, brainstorms, strategizes, and fills them in on what is going on at the company. PR teams that collaborate with a company and feel like members of the team almost always produce the best work! So, before hiring a PR rep, be sure you have someone on the inside to own and manage this area of the business.
Once these elements are in motion, it may be time to look for the right PR professional to help you boost visibility and brand awareness for your company.
Messaging. You have a website, but does it clearly explain what your company does and why, who you serve and what makes it unique? Messaging is important so leverage a PR pro’s skillset to help tell your company story in a succinct manner. This messaging will not just be for your website but also company fact sheets, executive biographies, and points you will want to rehearse to ensure you are prepared for interviews with journalists. Practice this messaging and do mock interviews with your PR partner.
Digital Marketing. Once your PR program is in full swing, think about a e-newsletter to showcase your media hits, thought leadership and activity. Maybe the CEO is speaking at a conference or you are hosting a webinar. All that is ideal content to include in a newsletter and send out to colleagues, prospects, and clients.
Don’t let your social media profiles fall by the wayside. Keep posting educational and engaging content and get a cadence down that makes sense for your business. Your PR rep can help with this too with ideas on trending hashtags and ways to position the content just right. They can help automate the process for you as well with content calendars, automation software to schedule your posts etc. Also, consider doing some social ads that can be laser focused on reaching your target audience. This will help you build your social following as well.
Media. Work with your PR rep to understand which journalists you should be following on social media. You want them to get to know you in a variety of ways. Talk to your PR partner about your media goals such as tier 1, 2, 3 media publications according to the level of importance to you and your business. Discuss the story you want told, the angles to support your story, and what case studies you have to leverage in the media.
As you interview a PR professional/agency, think about timing and expectations. You can’t hire a PR person to conduct media relations in 3 months and expect to get a ton of tier 1 hits. Media relations is a build and about having the right story at the right time; one that is topical and in line with current events (most of the time). It’s about building lasting relationships with influential reporters and you have to allow time for this. Starting with 6 months is decent and one year even better. You will definitely see the return the more patient you are. Just be sure and stay active with the PR program and work together.
For more information about strengthening your company’s communication efforts and other LTPR services, please visit: https://laceytrejopr.com/.