Common PR tactics

The Christmas rush is over and New Year’s resolutions are a distant memory, but it’s never too late to plan a PR campaign. Here are a few tips to get you started.

When you plan your campaign, you’ll need to do a bit of thinking about what you actually want to achieve – is it to increase sales or is it to simply to raise your profile? Do you want to establish yourself as an expert in your field, develop goodwill or attract more employees? Once you’ve established what you want to achieve, you can work out your target market and then plan what you’re going to say to your target market.

Story ideas
Everyone has a PR story to tell about their business or organisation, but sometimes you need to be a bit creative to get it noticed. These are just some ideas to start the brain storming process.

  • Seasonal
    Christmas has come and gone, but Valentine’s Day is around the corner and there’s still time to contact some media if you’ve got an angle (hardware stores do a pretty good job at convincing us a drill is the perfect Valentine’s gift). As well as specific dates, think of other times of the year for a hook – spring or winter stories, back to school, holidays or the wedding season may also offer angles for a story.
  • Topical
    Is there anything in the news that is relevant to your business? Are there any major legislative changes coming to your industry? An advice story or the offer of commentary of how the changes affect you or your customers are often picked up.
  • New Product/Service announcement
    Perhaps you’ve got an unusual or quirky approach or your product is slightly controversial. Anything which is a bit different stands a better chance of catching an editor’s eye. Where appropriate, send free samples/free trial of service to relevant media/reviewers.
  • Giving advice
    Just about every business can give advice, and we all love a ‘top tips’ story. For instance a removals company may offer advice on how to pack objects or what to look for when choosing a removal company.
  • New Staff announcement
    These types of stories work well for industry specific and business media depending on your organisation and the profile of the new employee.
  • Case studies
    Has a member of staff done something amazing like raised vast sums of money for charity, or won an award? These types of stories are often picked up by local or industry specific media.
  • Surveys and trivia
    Everyone loves a good survey, story; buying habits, strange objects left in hotels or restaurants, odd customer service queries, number of ice creams bought in a heatwave, or even finding out what pre-holiday tensions are – the list is endless. Either create your own survey from your database or relate your story to a recent survey.
  • Celebrities
    Do you know a celebrity or highly regarding individual (local or otherwise) who will lend their name to your business or organisation? Celebrities are great hooks – and they will also probably appreciate the publicity you can generate too.
  • Photo opportunities
    Advise newsroom picture desks/broadcast media/freelance photographers of quirky launch events and celebrity visits. Or set up a gimmicky photo opportunity; in support of Wales Rally GB, our photoshoot of ‘how many lacrosse players can you get into a Mini’ gained a lot of coverage. ‘Out and about’ or ‘social’ pages frequently accept submissions too.

Other tactics

  • Competitions/giveaways
    Everyone likes something for nothing, and lots of media, both traditional and online like to give their readers/followers opportunities to get free stuff. For most businesses, the extra publicity is worth far more than the cost of the giveaway.
  • Forward Features
    Many trade publications have a list of what features it is planning to run over the next year. Contact the features editor and ask for a list and then get in touch at the appropriate time and offer commentary on the relevant subject.

Once you’ve worked out a plan and your story ideas, all you have to do is write the media release and send it out!

Common PR tactics
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