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You’ve done it. You’ve overcome the initial series of hurdles and roadblocks and have finally started operating your own business. Whether an eCommerce side hustle, a self-owned business, or a fully-fledged corporate venture, you’re ready to get to work and spread the word about your new company.
As with many other entrepreneurs, it’s likely that you either have or are actively considering different methods you can utilize to maximize media coverage of your new brand. But navigating the complex, labyrinthine avenues of the media industry today means you’ll need to enlist the help of an experienced publicist to help steer and boost your brand’s image and message across the multifaceted platforms that encompass the realm of public relations (PR).
However, to best reap the benefits of PR like mentions or placements in articles, commentaries, interviews, or other forms of media, your brand is going to need a winning story, resources, time, capital and a lot of patience. Enlisting the help of a publicist to acquire media coverage and instill your brand within the collective consciousness of commercial markets can propel your outreach and spread your messaging, but not all brands are ready to work with a publicist.
There are some clear signs your brand might not be ready for this next step, especially if your brand doesn’t currently have the excess revenue to afford it. If you are not monetizing and have no way to monetize, it is too early to reach out to the media. The only exception is funded startups that can afford branding through media coverage before their product or service is live.
Before we get too far into this, let’s share what public relations is and break it into three parts.
What is public relations?
Public relations is more than simply managing the flow of information between an organization and members of the general public. It is a communications discipline that equally engages and informs a brand or business’s key audiences, builds important relationships, and brings vital data and information back to the organization for analysis and action.
The top three crucial recommendations for your brand to follow before getting started in finding a publicist to acquire media coverage for PR include having a product or service, having a polished web presence and brand and having revenue or funding to run a PR campaign for at least six months to a year. Without any one of these three components, your brand will not be fully ready to initiate a PR strategy or campaign. Though some brands with the proper funding may opt to initiate a PR campaign regardless, doing so without a unique product or service or a polished web presence and brand messaging is one of the quickest ways to set your PR campaign up for failure before it can even begin.
Now that you know what PR is let’s make sure that your brand is ready for it.
Does your brand have a newsworthy story?
The goal of PR is to bring more attention to your brand. This means your brand will be fighting for both coverage and attention, so having a strong or unique story to share is vital. The more thrilling your brand’s growth is or will be, the greater the chance it will be accepted by more media outlets and platforms with the help of a strong pitch from your publicist. If your brand is serious about starting a PR campaign, you’re going to need the funds to do so. On average, a solid PR campaign will cost at least $2,000 to $3,000 each month. To maximize your PR and media coverage opportunities, you’re going to want to budget those funds for no less than six months.
Like anything worthwhile in life, gaining good PR takes time. It can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a month or more for your campaign to move from pitch to publication. Depending on which outlet you want coverage from, this process can sometimes take longer as writers, editors, and publishers work to get your PR content accurate and finalized.
How will PR affect your business?
From a high-level perspective, PR can be broken down into the following three key components: communications, media relations, crisis management. All three are equally important regardless of your brand, target market, or the products or services you offer your customers. To better understand these components, let’s break down each one and discuss what they usually entail and why they are important.
Communications and media relations
When we think about communications within the business realm, we tend to think about internal communication, such as messages from your brand or company to your employees, executive team, and stakeholders. Within the realm of PR, however, communications covers a much broader range of roles and responsibilities, not the least of which is the process of communicating your brand’s messaging with your publicist.
Media relations differs somewhat from communications, specifically, with whom you’re communicating. As the name suggests, media relations is the process of working with members of the media industry to inform the public of your brand or organization’s goals, vision, or product/service in a way that is positive and adds value to your brand.
When we refer to media relations under the umbrella of PR, these communications are typically done (or at least initiated) by your publicist as part of your brand’s PR campaign. The role of any publicist is to assist your brand in acquiring coverage throughout different media platforms and outlets.
Crisis management is a vital aspect of PR, but one that many brands – particularly newer and smaller brands – tend to overlook. In the event of any tragedy or crisis that affects or impacts your brand, customers, operations, or team members, crisis management exists to convey accurate and factual information in a timely manner to those affected by the crisis in question.
The role of crisis management in PR is to ensure the safety of your employees and customers in the event of a crisis and to minimize the amount and spread of negative PR that could impact your brand or business’s success.
Find your angle
If you’ve read through this article and still believe your brand is ready for PR, then start drafting up some solid and unique angles you can use to begin building your first few pitches and topics, and invest in a strategic public relations initiative to bolster your brand for the challenges and opportunities ahead.