It’s that time of year when we all start winding down for a few weeks of fun, family, and food (maybe some rest in there somewhere, too?). But if you are a business owner, you are most likely looking ahead to what is coming in the new year and starting to set goals and KPIs. Perhaps you are planning launches, starting new ventures, or exploring how to bring awareness to you and your brand.
If you want to move the needle regarding media coverage and expanding brand awareness, PR is a necessary tool. To help you properly prepare your business for PR, my team and I have put together our top four tips on what a PR agency needs from YOU to get you the coverage you deserve in the new year and beyond!
1. A Clear Understanding of Goals
First and foremost, you must establish what you want from a partnership with an agency. What do you want to accomplish with PR? Are you looking for increased brand awareness? Perhaps you have a new product launch happening in quarter two? Or maybe you host an annual event each year in quarter three and want the media to be there? Are you looking for improved website traffic through backlinks? (It is important to note here: PR is NOT sales. Public relations is based on storytelling and getting people to notice your brand, which is only sometimes tied to an immediate uptick in sales.)
Having a solid understanding of what you want to achieve through PR will help guide your conversations with an agency and ensure everyone is on the same page.
2. Who are you talking to?
You also need to define your target audience clearly. Who are you looking to reach with your PR efforts? Think about the size and scope of your outreach – who do you want to reach and why? How will that outreach move the needle for your business? Then consider the demographics of your target population – age, gender, geographical location, etc. You can also look at any lifestyle indicators associated with them that might make them more open to your message. Are they tech-savvy or early adopters? Do they have an active interest in environmental issues? Once you have a better idea of who your target audience is, the PR agency can start mapping out what types of media they consume and where they consume it to get your message in front of them.
3. Identify Stories to Tell
One of the main jobs of a PR agency is to help you develop stories to tell on your behalf, but it helps if you can identify things you want to share to define your brand story and message. This involves looking at what makes your company stand out amongst the competition and what might capture your target audience’s attention. What story might convey the appropriate emotion or sentiment associated with your brand? What is the most meaningful and relevant message you want your audience to see?
You can work with your agency to identify these stories. They will create content pieces such as press releases, articles, blogs, etc., which effectively convey these stories to the general public. Then use these pieces to promote your brand by utilizing social media platforms and traditional media outlets.
4. Know Your Key Dates
Are there any critical dates in the next year that you know you’ll want to promote? Begin creating a calendar of these key dates in advance, so your agency knows what items need to be promoted ahead of time to build buzz.
These bigger key dates will influence your content topics for weeks, possibly even months, before they occur as you strive to generate excitement, information, and audience trust around it. For example, suppose your company is launching a new product (congrats, by the way!). In that case, you should start sharing the consumer pain points this new product addresses in social media posts, blogs, and with relevant media contacts.
PR can do wonders for your business – I have seen it firsthand. But hiring an agency requires a lot of communication, realistic expectations, and a true partnership between your business and the agency representing you. So before you begin searching out agencies to start promoting your company or running your campaign, get clear on the items above so that they can hit the ground running to get you that well-deserved coverage in 2023!