With countless ways to communicate with your clients, audience or customers, it can be overwhelming to find the right fit for you and your business. From posting content to Facebook and Twitter, to checking e-newsletter analytics, traditional PR can get lost in the shuffle.
Here are five simple ways to help you get a bit more bang for your buck when it comes to promoting your event, cause or business. Traditional public relations tools are still effective ways to spread your message. Consider:
1. A press release
Nowadays, word gets out through tweets and Facebook posts. While for some, that may be considered an accurate source, other media outlets are looking for the entire source of information. Hence, the press release. Need a refresher on writing press releases? Keep it simple and include the five W’s: who, what, where, when and how. And most importantly, think about why your story is great–what is the human interest factor or “so what” that the media can answer?
2. Strong media contacts
Build strong relationships with people in surrounding TV stations, radio stations, newspapers and local blogs. It may seem daunting, but just pick up the phone and call a local TV station. Chances are, an assignment editor will answer. If you are looking to chat with a specific reporter, ask the assignment editor for further help. Assignment editors get lots and lots (and lots!) or phone call and emails everyday about pitches. So, keep your pitch to 30 seconds and make your case. Make them care! If you’re doing a story about a new birthing center, try to contact a features reporter. Or, keep an eye on which reporter is covering what stories and follow up with a call or email.
And don’t just call when you want something. Invite members of the media out to coffee or send them a friendly email to see what they’re working on and if you can be of any help–no pitching, just helping. PR is all about relationships; treat everyone how you want to be treated (yes, this rule applies in all areas of life!)
3. In-person events and demonstrations
Whether it’s an ice cream social, open house, grand opening or local concert, have an event for your customers. Don’t be afraid to keep it simple. Many times, your audience just wants to feel appreciated or noticed. It’s a great way to mingle with customers and clients – and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
Another way to engage customers (and maybe gain a bit of media attention) is to hold live demonstrations or how-to sessions. Many folks are posting how-to videos to YouTube and Facebook, but take this concept one step further and do them as live events. People can ask questions as the event is happening and actually use the demo products.
Print is not dead. There are plenty of times when I’m looking for less screen time and would rather sit with my magazine or newspaper to catch up on the latest. Write an op-ed piece for your local paper. Talk to the media about a story with a local angle. Make your customer’s day by sending a cool postcard or invitation (I’m not just talking junk-mail coupons, here).
Although print might seem pricey, there are great options in digital press (no more off-set four-color newsletters) and there’s proof that it’s still effective. According to the United States Postal Service, 98% of consumers say they bring in their mail the day it is delivered and 77% say they sort through it immediately.
A final tip? Be friendly to those you meet (karma!) and open to new ideas. There are times we may feel stuck (or prefer to be) behind our computers, but you are still an ambassador for your brand, for your company. A good mix of the new media (social media, websites, blogs, etc.) tools and traditional methods make for well-rounded messaging and potential reach. In fact, when you host your live events, use social media to tell your audience about it. Or, when sending a traditional press release, include the QR code of a YouTube video. A well-rounded mix is what it’s all about.