A good PR specialist will spend time looking at every aspect of your business and product. It’s simply not good enough to have a great product if the service or public face does not deliver the same message. “ My product speaks for itself”, that’s great but what if nobody is listening? Be warned a good PR specialist may not always tell you what you want to hear.
Time in the beginning should be spent getting to know each other, your business, and your expectation. These are my favorite words, expectation and the managing there of; it’s the only way to a start a productive relationship. As the client, you should know exactly what you are getting into and more importantly exactly what you should be expecting to get out of this.
With all the niceties out the way, and your soul laid bare it will be time to put together a strategy which includes all levels of your service and product, including everything from your point of sale material through to your website. This communication audit should be seen as setting your standard, an opportunity to bring all elements or faucets of your business into line. The website supports sales, literature supports website and so on and so forth. Messages are then reinforced from print to purchase.
It is important to recognise that from the inside looking out your message to your consumer could be getting muddled. Look from the outside in, this is an important part of the process and may cause a little friction if you insist on using the logo, strap line, colours that your neighbour, Aunty or son, kindly designed with clipart way back when. Remember, we are still trying to get to PR. Your public image must represent your message and brand from the inside out.
With your strategy in place it’s important to stay on track and stay together, keep the lines of communication wide open. You will need updates from your PR specialist but equally they will need updates from you. Pass on news, however small and insignificant you may think it is, it’s up to your PR specialist to make this (within reason) into something news worthy, relevant and part of your strategy.
Which brings us to the written word of PR, the power of the press release. A timely, relevant, newsworthy press release combined with personal endorsements and quotes, hits the spot. Sounds simple enough! However the question should always be, are you submitting news or just a blatant product plug? Not wishing to burst any bubbles here but our editors do know the difference and they know what their readers want to read and what they don’t. There is always a place for a blatant plug within product feature pages but to be news worthy of editorial it has to be a story of interest and so we come full circle to Public Relations or just press releases.
Your press releases should be the icing on the cake at the end of a well thought out plan or objective. A quality piece of news which outshines the masses. Ad hoc or spontaneous news aside, your planned release has only one shot under the scrutiny of the discerning editor, so needs to be pitch perfect. So the creating, fuelling and connecting of these stories in order to reach that perfect pitch for print becomes as important a part of the process as the press release itself. It is this factor that should also be taken into consideration when you are deciding if Public Relations is for you and how it can be used within your business.
Mindful now of my 800 word window it looks as though quality V’s quantity, supporting your press release through online media and enough of the boring product shots will all have to wait for another day!
Written by Claire Allmett
Equine Events & PR
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Full service Equestrian PR & Equine Marketing agency. The hub of inspirational media and marketing strategy for leading equestrian brands and modern management service for high profile riders and trainers across all disciplines including dressage, SJ & eventing