A successful investment in PR for small businesses is about more than just engaging an agency and leaving them to it in an information and insight vacuum. Anthony Caruana and Kathryn Van Kuyk, co-CEOs at PR agency Media-Wize explain why.
PR is about a lot more than simply expecting an agency to manufacture ideas for coverage, pitching them to media outlets or social channels and hoping for a slew of positive coverage to magically appear.
Do you have the time for PR?
When a PR pitches you to an outlet, it’s your reputation, intellectual property and brand that’s on the line. Being well-prepared is crucial.
You get the most out of the PR investment when you’re ready to invest time in PR. So many SMBs have fantastic stories waiting to be unearthed and polished. Whether that’s a founder or overcoming adversity story, response to something topical, a customer success story, news, or thought leadership, working in partnership with PR ensures you’re ready for those opportunities and that they’re represented to the right outlets at the right time.
What is your story?
A good PR will work with the founder and management team to gain an insight into WHAT stories, news, opinions, spokespeople and customers you have to work with in your media campaign.
Journalists have almost no interest in marketing, promotional and sales hyperbole – everyone is the biggest, best, first, world-leader and a game-changer. If you push those messages to a journalist you must have solid proof points to back them up.
The media is looking for new stories they haven’t covered before – a new approach, a new solution, a fresh opinion, an Aussie startup or small business success story growing and expanding, or a customer that can validate your product or service has added value to their business.
Partner with your PR team
Don’t look at the agency as a transactional service provider. Think of them as your partner and trusted media advisor.
Getting the best possible return on your PR investment is about a partnership that goes far beyond KPIs and monthly retainers. It’s about trust, communication and truly working as a cross-discipline team and not putting PR in a silo.
Successful PR is a relationship, not a brief fling. It takes time to build awareness and credibility. You get the best results when you invest time and budget into ongoing activity and cultivating relationships with key journalists and media outlets. A PR may be able to open the door and get you an interview, but then it’s up to you to deliver an engaging and relevant story. If your budget is limited, then it’s worth doing one story a year right and not wasting time and money spraying and praying press releases journalists hoping to get some coverage.
What to look for in a PR agent
When searching for the right PR partner, look for an agency that takes the time to really get to know your business – that takes the time to understand what you do, what makes you standout and also finds out about the opinions and back stories. If they’re rushing you, only seem interested in ‘quick hits’, aren’t giving you all the copy they write to approve, or you can’t easily see what they’re doing for the money you’re paying them or they’re overwhelmed by the technical details then they’re probably not right for you.
Find a PR agency that is willing to go the extra mile and work with you to uncover the hidden stories inside your organisation, to find angles that align with your business objectives, who act with transparency at all times and who cultivate the right media relationships you need to leverage and then investing the time in bringing them on your journey will ensure you maximise the return on your PR investment.
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