"Public Relations is about reputation - the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you."
Just imagine if I went around saying that – people would think I was being cocky and big headed. But if a magazine said that about me…it would be a different story, you’d be totally impressed. And that is the power of public relations (PR). Its job is to manage your reputation and raise brand awareness. Features about your business in local press, product placements in national magazines and endorsements by experts or celebrities have a positive effect on potential customers filling them with confidence in your brand.
The way we do this is through media relations - building relationships with journalists with the aim to encourage them to positively promote our business through print, online or broadcast media. I've developed my unique R.I.P.P system
which breaks down the PR process into simple steps to help small businesses, just like yours, to master it and get those features you've dreamt about so you can grow your business.
Understand how the press work, identify articles where your products could fit and build a media list by finding journalists to contact.
Create a bank of ideas and product hooks that journalists will love. This will help you to secure press coverage for your product business.
Put together a great pitch that journalists can't ignore, so you can get featured in the press and grow your business.
Create a plan for your PR activities so you can be consistent (this is the hard bit!) and get regular press coverage.
It's free! PR is about getting earned press coverage, this is where you don't pay to be featured but get a mention on merit. Once you know the steps to getting coverage, the opportunities are endless.
A mention in a magazine can help grow a social media following. When a potential customer sees you in a magazine, they're likely to head over to Instagram or Facebook to see what you're all about. If they like what you're doing, you've got yourself a new follower to nurture into a paying customer.
A link to your website from an e-zine or blog can help build an email list. Getting featured online is brilliant because people can click straight through to your website. When they do, if you have a prompt for them to sign up to your email list (give something of value that's instant like 15% off, because let's be honest no-one hands over their email address to hear about your latest news), you can get the persons details to keep in contact and turn them into a regular customer.
A feature can open up new selling opportunities. It’s not just retail customers that read magazines - shop owners and retail buyers do too. A feature can prompt them to get in touch about stocking your products in their shop. This is what happened to one of my clients - Claire, a soap maker who got a full page feature in Woman & Home which resulted in her being approached by Not On The High Street asking her to sell with them.
It's an amazing endorsement. You should definitely toot your own horn about how amazing your products are, but when someone else does that for you (especially a national magazine!) it carries so much more weight. PR can give your business credibility.
A product placement can bring sales but they should always be seen as a bonus. When I had a product business, one of our reed diffusers was featured in Prima and we sold over 75 of them. That same reed diffuser was featured as an editor’s pick in Top Santé and resulted in no sales. Sales can happen from PR but are never a given - it's about the long game.
"I genuinely did not know I could email a journalist and they might feature me. I assumed it would always be expensive paid advertising or a highly sought after editorial piece to get press coverage. I have had four pieces of press coverage in national press since completing The Product PR Course; None of these would have been possible without taking the course which gave me the knowledge and importantly the confidence to contact journalists."
You’re the best person for the job because you know your business inside out and have a passion for it that no PR agency can replicate. Plus, it's free - no paying agency fees or advertising departments to get featured.
PR is for every business, now more than ever! The media are keen to get new and exciting businesses on their pages and there are opportunities for small product based businesses. Closeronline and Heatworld often feature NOTHS partners and etsy sellers in the shopping galleries, Country Living showcases artisans on its emporium pages while Red magazine makes an effort to support small businesses in its Christmas gift guides.
The PR Process might seem daunting but once you know what to do (and I can show you!) - it's simple. The hard bit is being persistent and consistent in your efforts. The best place to start is at the beginning!
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