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Big PR ambitions on a small budget? Check this out

As business owners and entrepreneurs, you will be aware that getting your business or product featured in a major newspaper, magazine, publication or website is a great achievement and can boost awareness, credibility and sales.

Having worked in PR for well over a decade I’ve come across many new business owners who are desperately seeking PR help but don’t have the financial means to do so.

This is exactly why I created this course, to help those who are unable to foot the bill of agencies and consultants. This course will kick start your PR activity and give you an understanding of how to use PR to increase your profile.

The course will teach you:

How to understand PR and use it to gain press coverage

  • How to write a PR plan and the importance of creating key messages that align with your business goals
  • How to write a press release and find your USP
  • How to approach the media
  • How to pitch to the media
 
  • *Bonus module – how to leverage social media with PR to accelerate business growth.
  • **Bonus PDF downloadable materials to help you meet your PR objectives:
  • PDF Template PR Plan
  • PDF Template Press Release
  • PDF Template journalist pitch email
  • PDF media database providers
  • PDF 8 Steps to approaching the media
  • PDF Key media holiday dates & hash tags to help your story

Enjoy and let me know how you get on!

P.S. I’m offering enhanced package for those that need an extra helping hand – where you get my expert review of your DIY PR plan and make recommendations – check out my Consultancy Services page

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Is all publicity good publicity?

I’ve had this conversation on many occasions, is all publicity good publicity? I watched a show recently and a group of women were talking about the fact that one of them had been in the media and she wasn’t concerned about the fact that the publicity wasn’t favourable or positive it was entirely negative but to her all that mattered was that her name is out there.  That is something I hear often, people think as long as they’re being spoken about is all that matters.

Well as a professional in the business that has had to manage crisis communications on behalf of clients I don’t agree with this statement at all. Think about it, I’ve said it before if you’re a restaurant owner and you get a huge amount of negative media attention for food poisoning and rodent infestation how do you think that would impact your sales? I think it’s fair to say that your restaurant might look like a ghost town depending on the severity of the coverage.

That’s a hypothetical example so let us take a brief look at some real crisis that has taken place. Look at the BP Oil spill in the Gulf in 2010. BP understandably received a significant amount of negative press with images of the oil gushing out, animals covered in oil and news that 11 workers died in the explosion. I’m pretty certain that bosses at BP didn’t think oh well all publicity is good when they had people boycotting their fuel stations and a media frenzy covering the incident.

Or we could look at the UK supermarket horsemeat scandal in 2013 which resulted in a whole host of jokes, info-graphics and memes be circulated across the internet. Showing just how influential social media channels can be when it comes to the public’s perception. The scandal affected bottom line sales as well as loosing trust from consumers.

Another example is the video featuring two Dominos employees doing disgusting things to pizzas that amassed almost one million hits on YouTube! As you would expect it was extremely damaging for the brand.

These are loads of examples to illustrate how bad publicity has hurt brands. I believe there is such a thing as bad publicity and while most do recover from the crisis if handled openly and transparently the bad publicity they’ve received has done some serious reputational damage for at least the short term….. and maybe longer.

Now you’ve heard from me, but what do you think? Do you believe that all publicity is good publicity?  Feel free to leave a comment!

Five ridiculous myths about PR

So I was having a chat recently with some friends about working in PR and it was interesting to hear what they thought PR was. What was funny was how many myths associated with the profession popped up during the convo, and I had fun trying to dispel them.  Here are my top five ridiculous myths about PR.

 

  1. PR is all about the Ab fab lifestyle – yep that old chestnut, the BBC comedy ‘Absolutely fabulous’ showed Jennifer Saunders working in the world of fashion PR. While it was hilarious to watch it is far from the truth. In reality we don’t all spend our time drinking, getting high and buttering up journalists. I recall my early days working in fashion and beauty PR to be, long hours and lots of hard work liaising with clients, pitching to journalists, distributing samples etc.

 

  1. All publicity is good publicity – I have heard this so many times and each time I have heard this and I wanted to shout erm NO! All media coverage is not good coverage, having worked on crisis situations in the past I know this to be entirely false. Think about it, if you’re a restaurant owner and you received negative media coverage about rodent infestation or if you’re CEO of an airline and you receive negative coverage about your planes being faulty and not up to scratch, do you think that would be good for business? Nope not at all.

 

  1. PR means press releases – People often get confused about what PR practitioners do, and think it’s just about churning out press releases for every and anything. PR is not just about pushing out press releases and media relations although it is an important element PR. PR is vital for informing, engaging and building relationships with your target audience, be it customers, suppliers, other businesses with an interest in yours. PR is also very important to your brand messaging which you want to be positive, and is the service you would turn to for help with a media crisis or negative media mentions.

 

  1. Anyone can do it – this is unfortunately a common misconception. Business owners often think that they can manage PR themselves to save money as all it takes is a press release and then the media gates flood open right?… Sorry to burst your bubble but it’s not that simple. PR is about reputation management, it is about communicating, clearly, concisely, effectively and strategising to build relationships with key stakeholders including the media.

 

  1. PR will make me or my company famous by tomorrow

To build brand awareness takes time, as consumers we don’t walk into a store or read an article and jump on the bandwagon immediately.  PR is an effective strategy to use for your business but you must remember that it can take time. PR is not based on luck it’s based on good PR planning. So remember when you start your PR campaign you may not necessarily see media coverage anywhere from a few weeks to three months into the campaign due to lead times for publications etc. But as long as the campaign continues you will see PR increase significantly over time.

Feel free to leave a comment and add any ridic myths that you know of!

Five of the most common press release mistakes to avoid

Press releases are a key tool in the PR artillery, but in today’s fast paced society where journalists, editors and bloggers are super busy it’s even more important that they are concise and carefully targeted.   If not they’ll end up unopened or in the bin.

To help you steer clear of this happening, see my top five common mistakes to avoid.

  1. Targeting the wrong media – one size doesn’t fit all so sending a press release about a restaurant opening to a Pet publication is a waste of time. Do your research and look for relevant publications and journalists with an interest in your area of work.
  2. Spelling mistakes – we’ve all experienced this, be it that we’ve hit send too quickly or we’ve received a badly written email. We’re human and can make mistakes but be careful to double check your release or pass it on to a colleague for fresh eyes to review.
  3. No new news – sending a release just for the sake of it is a big no no. There is no point in sending information if it isn’t newsworthy. Journalists want news worthy information, if you have nothing new to say don’t bother sending it – it will end up in the bin.
  4. Jargon and long convoluted headlines and info – The idea of writing a press release is to highlight the key news items and convey it in a clear and concise way – so to include jargon defies the purpose. Remember to make it clear and make sense. Don’t forget to spell out acronyms as those working in the field maybe aware but no one else is.
  5. No follow up – In an ideal world you can hit send and wait for all the journalists to come to you, but realistically they’re busy people so giving them a call is still valuable. Timing is key here however you don’t want to call when they’re going to press so check with them that it’s a good time to talk and keep it brief and to the point.

Hope it helps!