Launching your own PR Campaign
How do you start a public relations campaign? Where do you begin? Does one size fit all?
The owner of an affiliate service emailed me recently, asking about a PR starter kit for her clients. Her intentions were in the right place with her email.
“I’m looking for a very inexpensive package to offer my (affiliates), a sort of starter kit to help kick-start their marketing campaign. Most of them have no clue what to do,” she wrote.
Hiring a publicist is not like buying a shirt. There is no universal “starter kit” that will work for every business, especially if your business involves retail. For each campaign to be successful, you need to identify the story and what makes it unique. If you are selling t-shirts to teenagers, that is a different publicity campaign than a men’s store selling expensive suits to professionals. And to underscore that statement, it’s also a different publicity campaign than one that reaches professional women.
In the case with the owner of that affiliate marketing company, she would be more successful if she were to give her clients a compass that teaches them the most important questions to answer before you launch a PR campaign.
So how do you kick off a PR campaign if you don’t have a publicity budget? Is it possible to get your own publicity without hiring a PR team?
Of course, you can launch your own publicity campaign, but you need to identify a strong story-line. The most important questions to ask yourself: who is your audience and what makes my product unique?
I got another email recently from a marketing consultant who I have worked with in the past. She’s introduced me to many great “players” in the business scene and she is a friend, so I want her to succeed. She asked me if I would help her with publicity for an upcoming project.
I replied to her email with this: “How do you plan to distribute this press release? Are you going to pitch it to reporters? If so, which reporters are you targeting?”
Here’s why you need to answer those questions from the start: every successful public relations campaign begins and ends with your targeted audience. What good is it to get a great story in a magazine that your clients don’t read? Sure, you can use the placement to promote your product in other avenues, but it would be better if your story was in a magazine or newspaper that your potential clients will read on their own.
So what is the first step you should take when it comes to starting your own public relations campaign? Identify a narrative that is interesting, new and most important, focused. Once you identify the narrative, the next step is writing a tight press release. You can read more on that in other sections on our blog PRHelp.co.
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Mark Macias is a former journalist working in New York City. He’s the author of the book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media, which reveals overt and covert tactics in squashing negative stories. He now runs the PR firm, MaciasPR in New York City.