Are you PR ready?

It’s been a really busy month at Contentment HQ with several approaches from new business (thank you!) wanting to reach media and share their stories. When I sit down to talk to business owners and senior management who feel ready for some PR activity, there’s a certain shape to our conversations, as I draw from them what it is they want, need, and can move forward with. So herewith, my top five tips and things to consider before engaging the media. Hope it’s helpful!

Media training will help ensure you’re prepared before facing a journalist or camera crew.

Media training will help ensure you’re prepared before facing a journalist or camera crew.

1. Question your motives closely. 

Think about the stories you want to tell and why – and what success would look like to you. Are you wanting to build your brand over a period of months or years, and need a strategy to get you there? Or do you have something - a new product perhaps – that’s coming on stream and needs a press release package to hit some targeted media outlets? Come to your PR adviser armed with an idea of the outcome you’re after, the budget you’ve carved out, and how much time you have to devote to PR.

2. Consider media training.

This isn’t always necessary when embarking on a short stint of consumer or retail PR but it’s pretty darn handy if you’re looking at trying to secure a spot on TV, a live radio interview, or an in-depth print feature. Media training helps you determine what your key messages are, convey that messaging in any interview situation, and answer journalists’ questions with confidence. It’s a really crucial tool, too, if you head up a business or organisation (or hold a senior role within one) that might find itself in any kind of unexpectedly sticky situation where reporters come calling. So if the organic yogurt you manufacture could ever cause food poisoning, or the medical centre you run is likely to be impacted by strike action, or a staff member at your bank might one day be suspected of fraudulent activity, training is recommended.

3. Invest in photography.

Online and print media are more likely to run with a story if some of the hard work has been done for them, so price up a suite of photography that speaks to your products, service and messaging. It’s handy for your social channels as well.

4. Make space in your diary.

It’s frustrating for your PR professional to put the hard work in and find that you’re then unavailable for the media to actually interview you, call for more detail, or send a photographer over. Work with your PR adviser to figure out where the clear air is, so that when they are speaking to their contacts, they can confidently lock in some time. It’s a bad look for your PR, and therefore for you, to let media down.

5. Listen to your PR adviser.

The clue’s in their job title – he or she will have a clear idea of what story angles will work for journalists and who to contact for coverage. This is their area of expertise, so lean on them for advice. There is little point paying for PR that isn’t going to resonate with journalists or press releases that go straight in the bin. And while there are never any guarantees of coverage - because who knows what might happen in the news that week, or month, that takes the focus off your organic yoghurt, medical centre or bank – your PR adviser will be able to help guide your decision making on the stories that are fit to tell in the media.

Think you're good to go? Contact me for a chat!

Fiona Fraser