By Michelle Garrett, Garrett Public Relations
Have you been waiting, watching, and hoping that the media will notice you?
My hunch is that there are many businesses, particularly those in certain B2B industries, who might benefit from some simple PR strategies in the form of media relations but haven’t yet engaged in any. They see their competitors being covered in industry trade journals and in the mainstream media and wonder, “How did they do that?”
The answer is: they took action. They proactively reached out to the media to let them know what they were up to.
Public relations can benefit businesses in any industry by raising their visibility and helping build the buzz about their products and services. While advertising may also accomplish this, keep in mind:
- It’s more expensive. The average cost for an ad in an industry journal can be thousands of dollars—add that to the cost of creating the ad itself.
- It’s the company talking about itself (= less credible).
- Many people don’t read ads.
According to Roper Public Affairs, 80 percent of those responsible for making B2B purchasing decisions prefer information presented in articles (= PR) versus advertising. So, if you’re spending marketing dollars on ads, you might also consider adding some PR to the mix. How exactly can you do this? Here are a few examples:
1) Leverage your advertising: If you’re already advertising in an industry publication, seek an introduction to the editorial side of the house. Ask if there are any opportunities coming up for you to submit a contributed article or if perhaps there’s a product roundup or buyers’ guide that may be a fit. Getting on the editor’s radar can help you win more chances at coverage. They may begin to look to your company as a source when they need some input for a feature story that’s a fit.
2) Make the most of trade shows: You’re participating in a trade show. You’ve secured a booth and ordered branded giveaway items. But, what else could you do? Well, you could be meeting with those industry trade editors who are in attendance. If you ask in advance if they’re sending a reporter to cover the show, you can schedule a time to talk with them. Ask them to come by your booth. Then, brief them on your new products and give them a sneak peek into upcoming announcements. Meeting with them in person helps build relationships so they’re more likely to think of you when they have an editorial opportunity that’s a fit. Follow up after the show and stay in touch. Follow them on social media and like and share their posts.
3) Try a press release: Have you issued a press release lately? Press releases are often overlooked but are an effective multipurpose tool. Yes, you can send them to reporters. But, you can also issue them on a wire service which helps your business, product or service be found by boosting SEO. Once the press release has been published, you can share it via social media. Of course, post it to your site, as well. Read more in my article, 5 ways to make use of a press release.
4) Social media—blessing? Or curse: Social media can be both a blessing—and a curse. Businesses in verticals like manufacturing and industrial may fail to see the benefit in engaging in social media and therefore dismiss it as a waste of time. But, the advantages are real. Setting up accounts on social media outlets like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ is free. And, it can be an excellent way to begin to build relationships with reporters. By following them and occasionally liking, sharing and commenting on their posts, you can begin to build a rapport so that when you have something you want to pitch to them, they’re more likely to listen.
These are simple yet effective PR strategies that can bring real benefits to your business. If you round out what you’re already doing on the marketing and advertising front with a little PR, you may be pleasantly surprised by the results.