Creating Effective Public Relations

4 Basic Steps

Public relations strategies are important to incorporate into your business because they are low-cost (often free) and high impact.  And, creating a successful basic PR campaign is a lot easier than you might think.

1. Craft your story.

Make it relevant.
Your story must be compelling, since media outlets receive multiple article ideas every day.  Some examples of topics that warrant public relations efforts in the form of a press release and press kit include:

  • financial product or strategy launch
  • new company launch
  • mergers and acquisitions
  • an event
  • a trade show
  • a community activity

However, understand what is news and what is not. Reporters can become desensitized to receiving your submissions if they’re not consistently not newsworthy. They might just eventually get tossed before they’re even read.

Consider your customers’ needs.
Similar to what’s important in your marketing message, don’t talk about what your products and services do. Instead, focus on how you solve problems for your clients.

2.  Choose the right media.

Choose only those that reach your best prospects in your industry and feature editorial or advertising for the type of produce or service you market.

Click on the Gebbie Press link at the left for a comprehensive list of media outlets.

3.  Write a press release.

Keep it to one page and open with who, what, where, when, and why.  Next, include some background information on your company, a compelling quote from a high-ranking employee, and your contact information.

Fax or email the release to the contacts you identified in Step 2.  You’ll start to learn which communication method they prefer.  Then, follow up with a phone call to ensure the release was received and to let them know you’re available to provide additional information.

No takers?
If you send out a release but don’t get any bites, don’t feel like it was a waste of your time and effort.  There’s still plenty you can do with that document: post it to your web site, email it to your current customers, use it as a direct mail piece or as a handout on a sales call, or even print it on the other side of your marketing fliers.

4.  Create a press kit.

Have a press kit ready to distribute to media that express interest in your story.  It doesn’t have to be fancy; the goal here is to inform.  However, do make sure it’s professional and consider packaging the materials in a unique way.  There’s also a recent trend toward online media kits, so that’s another option to research and consider.  Following are suggestions for what to include in your press kit (but don’t include all these items… that will be way too much information for one kit):

  • The press release you just wrote and distributed
  • Product spec sheets
  • Background on your company
  • Tip sheets
  • Photos
  • Letter of introduction (pitch letter)
  • Bios/profiles of senior staff within your company
  • Recent press / articles
  • Press releases
  • Financial statements or investor-related news
  • Recent awards
  • Statistics specific to your industry, demographics, and target audiences

PR Opportunities Are Endless.

PR is not just about getting media exposure. There are many other ways other than through paid marketing or advertising to get information about your business out in front of the public.

Newsletters. Write one and email it to your client list. If you don’t feel like you can do this yourself, there are templates you can buy online and services you can hire to write the content for you. Check the links list on the left for email distribution and contact management services.

Public speaking or seminar participation. Offer your financial planning expertise by participating in speaking engagements in your community. This positions you as an expert and gets your name at the forefront of people’s brains if they’re looking for a financial advisor. Chambers of commerce, service and trade organizations, Rotary clubs, libraries, and even local businesses are always looking for luncheon speakers. Also, check out opportunities to participate in panel discussions or speak at community events. For a small cost, you could also host your own informational seminar or “lunch and learn.”

Radio. Contact some local stations and see if you can be interviewed on their programs. Also, check out online radio shows. See the link at the left for a list.

Online forums. When you participate in online newsgroups or financial forums, your name gets out there. And, many will allow you to include an email signature with your contact information.

Letters to the editor. Sometimes, the letter to the editor has a better chance of getting published than the actual press release!

Social networking. Start a blog, join Facebook, and explore Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

Contact your alma maters. Get published in their alumni newsletters either through an interview or an article you wrote. In an article, describe what your business offers that’s unique. Share wisdom, experience, and stories.

A Few Final PR Pointers.

Like anything in your business, it’s important to have a plan and stick to it. PR is simply, but your efforts will be wasted if you go into it blindly.  Also, don’t forget to follow up with your media contacts. They are very busy and are often working on tight deadlines, so don’t breathe down their necks, but let them know you are available to provide more information.