On the twelfth day of Christmas my client came to me and requested twelve very healthy sales leads

Of course, there are many benefits of a sustained PR and Marketing campaign and leads or enquiries to your company for the service, product or solution you are offer is probably the most important one. PR and Marketing campaigns require investment both from a financial and a time point of view, but the benefits are plentiful. It doesn’t happen overnight but once you have built up awareness in your target markets launching new offerings does become easier. This is by no means an exhaustive list of tactics but over the past twelve days I hope that this blog has provided you with food for thought and just a little inspiration for your own PR and Marketing Campaign. Good luck and may I take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my client came to me and requested eleven pieces of press coverage

So, if you have been employing some of the tactics mentioned so far in this blog you will hopefully be in the possession of some press coverage on your company which is a fantastic achievement so congratulations. Don’t be too hard on yourself if the numbers are low to start with because the more you start building relationships with your target publications the more they are likely to start covering your company’s news and views.  And they may just start approaching you to comment on stories they are covering.

To really cement these relationships think about how else you can contribute to the news agenda of your target publications by reading them regularly and demonstrating to the journalists that you really know their publication and the kinds of content that appeals to them.

On the tenth day of Christmas my client came to me and requested ten social media posts

Social media should form a major component of any PR and Marketing Campaign. Depending on your audience you should be considering or indeed all of the following: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube as a starting point. There are different character limits on the social media networks so ensure that whatever you write works within what you’re posting and gets your message across.  Take a look here to see what the limits are.

Unsurprisingly planning is the name of the game with social media and planning your social media posts into a weekly schedule will ensure that you are posting regularly. Posting on social media can support almost any aspect of your PR and Marketing campaign from events to news and press coverage to fun facts.

You can use the likes of Tweetdeck and Hootsuite to schedule posts so that they are posted automatically and then support the schedule with Adhoc tweets so that the content is fresh and topical. By posting regularly on social media you can build up a following of companies and individuals who are interested in hearing about you and your organisation. Be sure to monitor activity on your social media responding to those you retweet, like and share your posts. Another tip is to tag relevant people and companies in your posts to encourage interaction from them and increase the overall audience and views of your content.

Also remember to track the results of your campaign by monitoring growth in followers, shares, likes, retweets, most popular posts and so on so that you can see what works and how successful your posts are.

On the ninth day of Christmas my client came to me and requested nine press releases

When you have a news announcement to make about your organisation then a press release is the perfect vehicle to use but remember the news has to be interesting. I’ve covered this in another blog here. A press release should be no more than a page and a half in length (around five paragraphs), and its purpose is to interest the journalist enough to write up the story.

The two most important aspects of a press release are the headline and the first paragraph. The headline needs to be interesting to catch the attention of journalist and the first paragraph needs to summarise the story succinctly. With a press release the publication should be able to use as just the first paragraph to cover the story so bear this in mind when writing it. Cover up the last paragraph and read for sense and the penultimate one and so on.

Think about the timing of the announcement so if it’s a piece of research the send it out as the research is announced and ensure that it works with other communication you are sending out ie mailshot, social media etc. When you issue the announcement make sure that you have a spokesperson available who can talk authoritatively about it and be on message. And most importantly check it, ask a colleague to check it and then check it again to ensure that everything is accurate.

Here’s a list of everything a typical press release should include:

  • Headline (and sub-headline if it needs more explanation)
  • Introductory paragraph – with date, time and location of the press release and who, what, where, when of the story and include any relevant website links
  • The second paragraph should typically be a quote from the spokesperson emphasising the message/angle of the press release
  • Third paragraph provides more detail explanation of the story
  • Fourth paragraph could be another quote from the same or different spokesperson
  • Fifth paragraph should be a call to action with contact details
  • Contact details – don’t forget to add the media contact details of who the journalist should contact should they require more information
  • Notes to editors – include a short explanatory paragraph on the company issuing the press release with a link to their website. If the press release is on behalf of more than one organisation then provide one for each.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my client came to me and requested eight rapid responses

Let me explain about rapid responses as I think it’s probably more of a term used in the industry and sometimes called a breaking news comment. A rapid response is a comment from your spokesperson in response to a breaking news item which could in some way be associated with a topic that your company wants to talk about. The operative word here is ‘rapid’ as you need to be quick responding or even have some pre-prepared comment that just needs some refining. Think about who would be interested in reading the comment and research which publications have covered the story and then construct your media list accordingly. It’s best to have the bones of the list drafted so that you’re ready to respond quickly and then you can simply add in any extra publications. To give yourself the best possible chance of your comment being picked send your comment no more than four hours after the news has broken and less if you possibly can.     

Here’s are some typical examples of where issuing a rapid response would work:  

  • Major flooding takes place in Sheffield – you could be an insurance company offering flood insurance protection and could provide a comment on high risk flood areas and why it’s important to have added protection in these areas. 
  • Hotel chain announces major data breach – you could be a data security specialist who might be able to offer some insight on how it happened and what they should do to better protect themselves
  • Hotpoint announces product recall – you could be a branding consultant who could talk about how events of this nature effect brand reputation and perhaps offer some useful statistics to support your thoughts

There are many different scenarios that work in this situation but be careful to provide interesting insight that makes you stand out rather than offering a stock response that others are like to do. With a tight window and a highly competitive news environment – interesting insight and speed are definitely of the essence.

On the seventh day of Christmas my client came to me and requested seven campaign ideas 

Campaigns are a great way to structure your PR and Marketing activities across the year. When you think about campaigns you probably conjure up thoughts of big-budget ideas with exciting stunts and while of course, this is great if you have the required investment, the reality is that it’s not necessary. A good starting point is to think about your sales objectives and then plot these across the year or if you are targeting specific vertical markets or age groups then put these evenly across the year and think about interesting ways you can promote them. I wouldn’t be too ambitious and do a campaign every month more like every quarter. Have a brainstorm with colleagues on what you would think could work and then look at some of the tactics we talk about in this blog and weave them into your campaign. As mentioned start small and build up as you get more confident.

On the sixth day of Christmas my client came to me and requested six media pitches  

Creating a media pitch is a really good way of trying to interest a target publication or journalist in a story idea. The purpose of a media pitch is to either to get a journalist to use your pitch in order to write a story or to task you with writing the article yourself which you will then attribute to an appropriate spokesperson. A pitch shouldn’t be too long, probably around 150 words, as journalists are time poor and probably receive tens, if not hundreds, of these every day. Make sure you are familiar with the publication and it’s a particular journalist that you’re pitching to look at what they have written recently and what subjects they are interested in after all no-one likes a bulk email. Make it as interesting as you possibly can and include statistics and examples to bring the topic to life. Make the journalist’s life as easy as possible, offer images and relevant spokesperson. Pitches take practice so if at first you don’t succeed try again.

On the fifth day of Christmas my client came to me and requested five fab blog posts  

Blog posts are a great way of populating your website with all sorts of information about your company and topics relevant to your company. A typical length should be 300-500 words and try to make them as informative as you can without it being a sales pitch. I would suggest that your blogs try and follow some sort of topic plan so perhaps each month you could choose a theme to blog about. In turn, you might just be starting out so you’re trying to educate people about the issue/problem you are solving for your customers. Of course, you can always add in topical blog posts so something on the general election would be highly appropriate during the current time. You can also invite guest bloggers to post on your site. Make sure that your blogs don’t fall on deaf ears and that you direct people to them via social media or perhaps even your email signature.

On the fourth day of Christmas my client came to me and requested four glowing testimonials 

Giving the media examples of happy customers using your product or service is equally important as telling your customers or prospects. Testimonials often bring your offering to life and help to tell a story which a sales pitch is unlikely ever to match. The best ones are those are slightly unusual and have a strong human-interest element. So, if it’s technology perhaps your solution is helping to connect remote communities in some far-flung location or on the consumer side perhaps, you’re a clothing brand that uses recycled materials to create your range, the more you can bring your story to life the easier it will be to bring it to the attention of a journalist. Hopefully, you get the gist of what I’m saying but of course, I’m more than happy to answer any questions.

On the third day of Christmas my client came to me and requested three media lists  

A well-constructed media list is an essential component of any PR campaign and while three is probably overkill you might need to create individual media lists for specific news stories and pitches. Understanding your audience is essential as is being familiar with your target media. Think about all of the different audiences that you want to get in front of and then research who are the relevant media in each category. For instance, if your audience is B2B you are unlikely to targeting any consumer publications but remember that most of the nationals and broadcast have journalists that cover B2B audiences so don’t leave them out. Media lists tend to be divided up into the following categories: trade, vertical, national, business, broadcast, consumer and freelancers.

There are a number of media databases that you can subscribe to and if you’re working with a PR specialist or agency then it’s highly likely that they will have access to one. Just like any other contact list, it should be a constantly evolving document as people move around a lot so do ensure that it’s up-to-date.

On the second day of Christmas my client came to me and requested two forward features… 

Features are scheduled article topics planned ahead of time by publications and are a great way to contribute to the news agenda in target media when you don’t have specific news to share. Some publications plan their features in advance and publish them on their website and others post them on Twitter. You also find that many publications run regular columns that you might be able to contribute to. The trick here is to ensure that you know your key media and that you read them on a regular basis. Publications often publish weekly and sometimes daily bulletins of their article so sign up to these and then you can catch-up at your leisure.

On the first day of Christmas my client came to me and requested a PR & Marketing Plan for January…

A PR and Marketing plan is a great way to organise your communications strategy in a helpful and orderly fashion. As well as including the activities that make up your plan you should also take time to research the market to write a situation analysis and clearly identify your aims and objectives and target audiences. If you think you could do with some help then get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.so please get in contact here.