Taking the PR Plunge: How to know when it’s time to dive in
As a B2B company, it can be hard to decide which marketing strategies to invest in.
Once you've established your website, developed an engaging email strategy, created strong social content, you may be wondering if PR is the next step for your organization.
Getting the inside scoop from our PR expert
We recently spoke with our expert PR partner, Sarah Lemmon, founder of Lemmon PR in Seattle, to address your burning PR questions. We learned the following:
+ How to know when your company is ready for PR
+ 4 essential items to have in place when building your PR story
+ Lessons learned working with B2B companies and nonprofits in Seattle
(For all the details, watch the video above.)
A PR agency will help you discern if your story is a smart approach for your business. They will focus on what makes your organization tick, what makes it different, and how that translates into your story.
Exercise: Can you pass the headline test?
Ask yourself this: Would your story, if condensed into a headline, be something you would want to read?
If your answer is yes, then you may be ready for PR. If not, that may mean that you need a PR agency to help think of some exciting new programs that can give your story an edge.
You may be asking “what would constitute a good story?”
Obviously, it can’t be the same thing everyone else is saying. A good story is different, edgy, has a human component, and may even argue against a common point of view.
(Check out our brand story messaging framework download and copywriting mini-course as starting points for building your story)
Be prepared: have your foundational marketing pieces ready for your audience
Once you determine your compelling story and craft your ideal headline, the next step is to ensure you have foundational marketing components established – think relevant material such as blog posts or other current news as well as a plan to socialize the material.
Sarah recommends having your website and visuals ready, too, since you’ll direct your audience back to your website. Remember, your website is the visual window of your business.
Make sure your messaging is consistent, beautiful, and authentic to the story you want to tell.
Essential items to have in place when building your PR story:
Your story & an idea around how to reach your intended audience
Your spokesperson who can showcase the best foot forward of your company in a genuine manner
Your visuals that will serve as a one-stop shop in your pitch to the media.
The ideal timing and budget.
Engaging your audience at the right time
So, your website meets the above criteria. What’s next?
Timing is the next most important factor to consider.
As you think about your target audience, engaging them from both a short-term and long-term standpoint should be at the forefront of your plan but be mindful of realistic expectations around lead times as they relate to your PR needs.
PR is often a marathon, not a sprint
Depending on your media, it could take time before your pitch is picked up and published.
Patience is key!
Knowing your desired timeframe to broadcast your message and partnering with a PR company to create a plan of action can make a tremendous impact.
In some instances, PR can be more cost-effective than advertising.
A PR partner can leverage the right relationships with your messaging to maximize outcomes.
PR is about relationships.
Working with a PR agency means they have relationships with the media and they'll ensure your pitch is applicable to the media you're pursuing.
As an example, when working with Seattle-based organization Lifelong, Sarah adapted her PR strategy to gain the most traction for the message at hand with the appropriate media contact. The results of Sarah’s efforts were a prominent feature in the local newspaper and an increase in donations.
Traditional or non-traditional PR: what’s the difference?
PR is not just about press releases!
Sarah tends to categorize PR into two types – short lead and long lead rather than traditional and non-traditional.
Magazines and some newspapers fall into the long lead bucket while online publications, podcasts, and trade journals typically fall into the short lead category.
Spokesperson openings at conferences and TED Talks are also viable opportunities for PR.
Moreover, channels such as television and radio still drive sales so these mechanisms shouldn’t be discounted.
Start with your goals to calculate the value of a PR opportunity
Before you pursue all PR opportunities that come your way, consider the results you’re trying to achieve. Will the platform in question support the outcomes you wish to realize?
If you think you’re ready for PR, remember these steps
First, identify how your story is different.
Next, pass the headline test to ensure your story is compelling, different, and edgy.
Lastly, decide what timing of your story would create the most impact for your organization.
Don’t forget to find a marketing team and PR partner that can build your foundational marketing efforts and PR relationships so your efforts are successful.
If you’re interested in PR, reach out! We have a trusted network of PR partners, like Lemmon PR, that can help.