Forward thinking businesses are planning their 2013 budgets and that’s often when discussions occur about hiring a Media Relations firm to help boost customer awareness, generate exposure, increase sales and move the entire organization to a bigger playing field.
If your business wants to enlist some PR help you may be wondering, “Exactly what am I getting into?” Let’s dive in to that and more in these Seven Tips to Hiring a Media Relations / PR Firm.
1. What’s the difference between PR and Media Relations? Media Relations is an important tool of a strategic Public Relations campaign. PR is the comprehensive mix of strategy and tactics that is driven by a strategic communications plan and should lead to positive news stories.. PR and Media Relations professionals help you develop your plan, create the messages that position your expertise, provide third-party credibility and help you spread word-of-mouth, the most credible form of advertising. Our activities include — but aren’t limited to:
- Developing communications plans, including goals, objectives.
- Identifying your key audiences and the media they’re likely to follow.
- Crafting a memorable and compelling message.
- Learning how to insert that message into your media interviews.
- Writing a variety of content (web copy, press releases, e-Newsletters, digital content calendar, FAQs, etc.) to spread your message.
- Building relationships with reporters, editors and bloggers to begin the process of landing interviews that lead to news coverage for your business.
2. Sounds like I’ve got a lot of work to do even before I get to the ‘media interview’ stage? Like anything in business, a good plan and a solid foundation improve your chances of success. Depending on your availability, this foundation-building period may take a week, two weeks or a month, but will payoff dividends once you land interview opportunities. The most successful PR initiatives occur when you have a partnership with a PR pro who helps guide you through the early stages of the PR initiative.
3. How do you find reporters who want to do interviews about my business? After identifying the outlets and types of media coverage that will help grow your business, your media relations pro will conduct research on what reporters who cover your industry are writing about and will look for those most likely to be interested in your news and/or expertise. An experienced media relations professional has developed those connections and knows how to nurture strong relationships that lead to positive news stories.
4. What are the key considerations in selecting the right PR / Media relations? Go to the PR consultant‘s web site and social media profile pages and learn a bit about them. They’ll most likely have a web page exclusively devoted to news coverage they’ve earned for their clients. Read the stories and ask questions about the steps taken to get reporters’ attention and to deliver a positive news story for the client. Read a PR firm’s web content to identify whether their approach and style jells with your own, since you’ll want to partner with people you enjoy working with.
5. Once my business gets media coverage, then what? Excellent question because that’s where so many businesses fall short. They work hard to get reporters to write about them and do little to take advantage of their placements. Making news in print, on TV, or on the online portals or blogs is third-party validation about the value you bring to your customers. Having earned credibility from a respected, independent source, now is the time to showcase your valuable news to your customers and prospects through the News section of your Web site, in e-Newsletters, social media profile pages and marketing collateral. Frame your news story and mount it on the waiting room wall. Set up your outgoing voicemail message to direct callers to the link where they’ll find your coverage online.
6. How much time and money will a PR initiative cost? It depends on what you’re trying to achieve over a given period of time. The professional you choose will provide you with a variety of PR options to help you meet your objectives and stay within your budget.
7. Is it better to work under a retainer-based agreement, or one that’s project-based? Building any kind of relationship takes time and consistency, and that holds true for media relationships as well. An ongoing monthly retainer-based plan allows your Media Relations consultant to develop and strengthen relationships by maintaining a continual dialogue with the reporters and editors who need reliable experts for their stories. A retainer-based PR program supports that dialogue process with media who follow you. It also enables you to sustain the momentum that helps you create a steady stream of news, giving your customers confidence in you and your business while providing them with the value that keeps them coming back.
If you’re thinking about hiring a Media Relations consultant and have additional questions, I’d be happy to help. Just leave a comment or shoot an email to email@example.com and provide me with your phone number so we can talk.
Post happily written by Michelle Damico