For all entrepreneurs and business owners, there’s that one crucial point in your journey when it hits you—I’ve done this. Now what? It’s at this moment when you realize you are going to need some exposure for your brand. After all, you are ready to start touting your successes and generating awareness for your business and its offerings. At this stage, telling your story is critical: You need PR!
Your public relations campaign will illustrate your company’s story for your consumers, potential customers, media, stakeholders, and beyond. Without this storytelling piece, there’s no way to rise above the noise.
1. Identify your goals, objectives, and starting point
You cannot create a successful PR campaign without what you want to achieve. Additionally, the answers to these questions must align with your overarching business goals. Reza says, to find success in goal-setting, you must think about where you need to start and take an honest look at the situation. “For example,” Reza adds, “if you want to be seen as a voice and authority in your craft and be featured in Forbes, you need to make sure you are ready to start on that step.”
2. Inspect your expectations and value every opportunity
Once you’ve identified your goals, take a look at them critically as you would a competitor. Ever wonder why a similar business or brand is doing the same things you are, but they are getting more recognition? It all comes down to building your brand. Reza says to never dismiss the value of the smaller opportunities at the onset because they provide three critical components:
- They build awareness of your brand.
- They give your spokesperson interview experiences to fine-tune their style, bringing confidence to their communication.
- They give small publications the chance to tell their story. Granting them this opportunity in their early stages begins the development of a relationship that you will be able to leverage once they have grown.
3. Strategy and preparation takes time
Let’s be honest —PR does not provide immediate results. Reza admits that clients should spend the first several months of a PR campaign developing a holistic strategy geared towards reaching attainable goals. In these early stages, Reza says you need to give your AOR the tools they need to become an expert in your brand. This material includes background information, access to specific contacts, collateral material, and your approval process. All of these components aid in your growth process. However, Reza adds that probably the most important thing you can give to ensure success is your time. The strategy for your business should be a joint effort between you and your AOR.
4. PR is a constant conversation
Think of it this way—would you start and then stop selling your product? No. So why would you stop telling your story? Reza says, “Activating a news engine is a crucial part of PR that must be ongoing. Finding fresh, news-worthy ways to tell your story is a never-ending process.” This means you must be prepared to share anything and everything with your AOR. They will be able to assess and advise if the information is newsworthy and how to use it. Reza warns clients to keep in mind, not everything is a compelling story, and depending on the news cycle, it might take time to gain interest.
5. Engage with your audience
Reza says it is crucial for a brand to authentically engage with its customers regularly and share content and information that can be helpful. It is also important to promptly respond to comments and questions and NEVER delete a comment or review. “Most of all, listen. One of the most important things you can do as a business owner is listen to all of your customers, even if you don’t like what they have to say,” offers Reza. She adds that the first reaction to negativity is to get defensive but warns not to go down that route. “Instead, work to understand where they are coming from. This type of authentic listening will help you learn more, serve a wider population, and ultimately do better overall,” says Reza.
Running a business is an exciting adventure. Don’t make the mistake of dismissing the power of PR. Remembering Jennifer Reza’s five best practices above will help ensure a successful PR campaign and booming business far into the future.