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3 Things to Kick Start Your PR

3 Things to Kick Start Your PR

Every business needs a great story, the kind that engages customers and partners, builds long-standing relationships and generates referrals.

And if it’s really compelling, other people will tell it for you. That’s the essence of solid public relations.

So how do SMBs get started in PR?

As a former agency owner, I want to say, hire me :)  However, you can do a lot to lay a strong foundation yourself, especially in the first few years. These days, I’m the resident PR/Content Strategy specialist at Method so I thought I’d let you peek under the PR hood.

Here are three things you can do to get started on PR for your business:

1. Craft your story. Some people call it a news hook or elevator pitch. It should be a short yet captivating overview of who you are, what you do and why you do it best (no more than 100 to 150 words). Drill down to the essence of your business and add in dramatic details (i.e. little guy battles big established player). Just be sure to avoid jargon. Write it down and then read it aloud to hear what it sounds like. Tell it to your trusted colleagues, friends and family. Ask them if they have any suggestions for improvement. Then listen to the feedback, revise and practice some more. You’ll know you’ve got it right when people’s eyes light up as you tell it.

2. Build relationships before the ‘ask’. As with customers, your relationships with media, bloggers and other influencers don’t happen overnight. It takes time to develop credibility and trust. So as you’re creating your story, start paying attention to who’s writing about your industry in your local paper, magazines, online publications and blogs. Introduce yourself, comment on their posts and share them with your network. After a while they’ll start noticing you and maybe even ask you to tell your story before you pitch them.

3. Understand that not all news is created equal. Don’t expect to be covered on the front page of the Wall Street Journal or even your local paper. Your new product or expansion may be the biggest thing to happen to your business but, as they say, may not amount to a hill of bean to local media if you haven’t positioned it properly. You need to know how you fit in the news cycle – most likely you’ll be a soft or feature story, which doesn’t have the same priority as breaking news.

Like comedy, the secret of PR is timing and storytelling. Make sure you’ve got both when you go out with your pitch.

Have you tried doing some PR for your business? Any other tips to add?

Please share your thoughts. And as the 3 Things series grows we’ll be adding guest bloggers and looking for your stories on what’s worked and what hasn’t, and how you adapted or improved on an idea we shared.

Twitter: @methodCRM



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About Method_Martin

Martin Waxman is Method's resident PR/content specialist. He's a Toronto digital, social media and communications strategist, founder of 3 PR agencies, blogger at myPALETTE, Inside PR co-host, @martinwaxman on Twitter and a digital and social media strategy instructor at University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies.