Many business owners keen to get started on a public relations campaign aren’t prepared with the right assets and information to really nail it. Here are six things to prepare to get your business ‘PR ready’, writes Samatha Dybac, founder of The PR Hub.
As Australia’s small business and entrepreneurial community grows, so too does the number of brands wanting to be recognised and promote their people, products or services.
I am approached weekly by business founders, startups and aspiring entrepreneurs who all desperately want to be heard, and see public relations as the ultimate answer.
As the founder of a PR and communications agency that specialises in this area, I always value potential new clients, but I also know that reputation is key to our success. Taking on a client simply because they think they need our PR services would not get either party anywhere for long.
To truly be ‘PR ready’, get the best results and maximise your investment, you need to first lay some foundations.
6 things to have prepared for your first PR campaign
For anyone thinking about whether PR is for them, here are six things to consider.
1. What is your story?
It’s critical that branding and PR efforts support each other, otherwise you run the risk of wasting a great opportunity due to lack of strategy and planning.
In order to become an industry leader, you need to dig deep into your story and find those qualities that make you stand out. Maybe it’s an outstanding founder, or how the business itself came about. Don’t be afraid to talk about your past, your challenges and achievements. Honest, consistent storytelling works.
2. Assess how others perceive you – on and offline
It’s naïve to think that anyone or anything is sheltered from the internet, or public data and what it says about you or your company. It’s crucial that your online profiles (we call these assets) are consistent and reflect your brand values and offering.
You need to consider assets such as your website, all social media platforms, Google, blogs, and the list goes on.
Offline you should also consider your everyday presentation – your attire, what events you attend and who you socialise with.
3. Understand your audience and how to add value
One of the first things I ask a person when they approach me about PR is “who is your target audience and what problem are you trying to solve?”
As a starting point there is nothing wrong with describing your audience in a broad sense, but once you do that the next step should be to break it down into segments. Prioritise their importance and put some structure around how and when to target each.
4. Clear, actionable goals and timeline
For any PR campaign you must have a clear vision for what you want to achieve, when and how.
A great PR campaign should incorporate short and long-term business objectives. You should clearly define what these are and be willing to share them with your PR agency.
Significant achievements or developments should also be shared ideally with more than 24 hours notice.
5. Availability and commitment to the campaign
Hiring a PR agency still requires your involvement. Sure, they will carry out the majority of the work but being available to discuss angles, share feedback and sign off on content is critical.
If you want to be in the media then you must be available, and sometimes at short notice. Alternatively you can delegate that role to a team member who understands how PR supports your business objectives. Designating a spokesperson is essential for both media opportunities and speaking engagements.
Competition for the spotlight is fierce so if you lack experience, then consider some media or presentation training. Make sure it is built in to your overall PR strategy and that your agency is involved in the brief and process to get maximum results.
If you’re ready for PR, you need to embrace it as part of your overall business strategy and allocate a realistic budget.
It’s important to remember that just like any other key employee or hire they will need time to grow into the role. The best way to manage this is to be open from the outset on expectations and make sure you agree on outcomes. Many PR agencies operate on a monthly retainer, and the length of the campaign is something you should discuss together.
There is no question that brands benefit from great promotion and with the rise of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, the competition for consumer attention and media coverage can only get more intense.
Answering the question, “Am I, or are we, ready for PR?” is a critical business skill, and one that will deliver a competitive edge and help maximise your investment.
This post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated for 2022.
Want more? Get our newsletter delivered straight to your inbox! Follow Kochie’s Business Builders on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Now read this: