Strategic communications and public relations go hand in hand. Timing is everything when it comes to a good story and you want to make sure yours is told the right way at the right time. PR at its core is a proven way to add credibility to your brand, leveraging opportunities with press to organically talk about what’s going on with your company, product or industry.
But spending time trying to tell your story before you have the right assets will burn valuable resources you may need in other places. To make sure your company’s story is ready to tell, ensure you have the following critical success factors:
- Key messaging – If asked what your company does, can you offer an elevator pitch (10 seconds or less) of what you do and who you do it for? While a good PR firm can help you cement this summary in stone, you’ll need to have the basics down. Are you clear on who you help, and how? How about what your audience needs that your product or service addresses? This should all be in the messaging. Note: “everyone” or “everything” is not a good answer.
- Assets – You’ll need pricing, information regarding availability and images or screenshots of your product or service. The media will also often want to speak with someone who has used your product or service, or if it’s a consumer product or service, they’ll want to discuss user rates. It’s natural to not want to divulge such details so be prepared to say which geographies you cover, or your share of the market. Visual images and third-party research help tell your story help too. Showcase these items on a “media” section of your website or create a downloadable press kit. The press will visit your website to determine how active your brand is, so showing news and validation from other media resources will lend credibility even if you’re just starting out. Physical samples or a way to demo your product or service are often requested by media; rather than taking your word for it, they want to share the experience their readers would likely have. A good firm can help you create much of this, but if you don’t have these elements, spend your resources on getting them before you invest in PR.
- Back up plan – What will you do with the media attention you secure? Press coverage often leads to a spike in web traffic or an increase in inquiries from people wanting to buy what you sell, or even invest in your business. If you don’t have the resources to deal with such a response, wait until you have the time, people and processes to maximize those opportunities.
- Focus on the long haul – It’s important to have realistic expectations to avoid misunderstandings and disappointment. Perhaps you’ve done PR in the past but it has been a few years. The media landscape changes rapidly. Be open to the fact that your PR firm knows more than you about what works. They do this every day. Good PR takes time. It can take a couple of months for even the most successful businesses to see PR results. Allow your employee or agency time to learn the business and refine the messaging to make your story as interesting as possible. Be prepared to commit for at least 6-12 months. And be sure you have the time – or a marketing or communications expert on the team – to actively participate in the PR campaign and to provide your PR resource with the information they request to help them do their jobs.
- Data – Proof of the need for your product or service, or of the value it offers, tells your story for you. If you’re an older company, talk to your users and clients to hear what they love about your product/service and how they are using it. If you’re a startup, where is the hole in the industry and why does it exist? Facts give the story a leg to stand on. They also assist with the creation of impactful messaging.
If you have these things squared away, you’re ready to go. Let us know if we can help. Where are you looking to take your story this year?