Today, I would argue PR is more important than ever before. In addition to helping companies increase profiles and attract new clients, PR can be considered the secret weapon for SEO.
Unfortunately, despite the increasing importance of PR, it is often misunderstood by companies both large and small.
In this article, my aim is to de-construct the PR process, with the hope that you be able to better optimize your company’s opportunities for press going forward.
Overview of PR
PR can be broken down into 5 sections:
1. Identifying which stories to contact media publications about
2. Developing a press release
3. Securing an exclusive from a recognized media outlet (for example WebProNews)
4. Emailing other publications to further coverage
5. Repeating this process every 10-12 weeks
Identifying which stories to contact media publications about
When approaching the media, whether it be WebProNews or another outlet, it is important to remember that not all announcements are created equal.
Although it may really matter to you that your company recently partnered with a local restaurant, it is unlikely that a journalist will find this newsworthy. This is important because you can lose credibility if you reach out to the media with stories that are not likely to be written about.
If you are wondering which stories are newsworthy, we have a list below. These announcements are typically effective at generating media coverage:
Company Launches: These announcements tend to be newsworthy as entrepreneurscan explain how, through their startup, they are trying to change the world.
Product Launches: This is similar to a company launch. With a new product launch, you should explain what it does and why people should be interested.
Fundraisers: Reporters don’t always know what to believe about the pitches they get, but if they see numbers and names attached to a venture, they are more likely to be interested because of this social proof.
Acquisitions: Once your company has taken off, acquisitions are something people look for to show that a business is staying aggressive in the marketplace.
Milestones: If, as an example, you founded a mobile app company and have just reached your 1,000,000th download, this is a meaningful milestone that can be newsworthy.
Developing a press release
Now that you have an idea of what type of stories attract the attention of the media, it is time to take a step further.
Enter the press release.
The first thing to understand is that journalists are pitched dozens of stories like yours everyday. If your press release does not stand out from the beginning, chances are that it will not be read. The most important part of a press release, then, is the first line.
The first sentence of any press release should provide the person reading it with a clear idea of what is important about what you have to tell them, and how they can present it to a wider audience. This is what we call the storyline, and this is where you should discuss your big picture announcement.
You should ask yourself, companies launch all the time, what is it about your company that is going to change the face of the marketplace, or change the way people interact with a certain technology or product?
An example of a story line is:
Lingua.ly founded by a Stanford PhD & partner, launches and aims to re-imagine the way languages are learned online.
From there, the idea in the press release is to include as much useful information as possible so that the reporter can take out whatever he/she needs for his/her story.
Securing an exclusive from a recognized media outlet
Modern news is competitive industry. Every day, publications compete with one another to break stories.
When approaching PR, we recommend you offer one of the more well-read outlets, exclusive access to your story announcement.
A tired journalist checking his email may not jump on any story he senses is being sent to 30 other writers. However, offer him the chance to break an original piece of content, and you can better receive his attention.
Emailing other publications to further coverage
If you can grab a top industry publisher’s interests, you stand a good chance of getting follow-up coverage from other blogs and outlets, or breaking through to a mainstream publication that uses industry-specific outlets as a feeder for stories.
After an exclusive has been published, we recommend a company email other publications to increase press around the announcement.
Repeating this process every 10-12 weeks
With PR, your company’s efforts should not stop there. We encourage companies to aim for a new public relations campaign every 8-10 weeks. These efforts will only compound over time. If you can do this, your company will not be in the top 10% of PR, it will be in the top 1%.