How Entrepreneurs Use Public Relations to Scale and Grow
"A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.” – Richard Branson
“It’s easy to get public relations exposure,” they say.
“The journalists will cover you,” they say.
We’ve all dreamt about the fairy tale stories where brands strike PR gold. Reality check...the majority of today’s entrepreneurs aren’t winning a Cannes PR Lion (think Academy Awards red carpet in the PR world). They’re just looking to get media coverage, drive traffic to the business and promote their brand.
Entrepreneurs interested in public relations guidance can rest easy. It’s possible for business owners to be successful in PR pitching and gaining media coverage, you just need a strategic plan in place.
Lisa caught up with Brandon on a Facebook Live interview recently to get his inside secrets to his PR success, and the steps you can take today to achieve the same results.
Establish PR/Writing Goals
Just like any business venture, you need to keep your eye on the prize, which means having specific goals in place. For PR, these goals can include:
- What are you looking to accomplish?
- Is the brand looking for general exposure, positive third party opinion or representation of its key products or players?
- What are your ideal publications?
Determine your north star, write it down and shoot for it.
Sign Up For HARO
HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out, a site founded and made famous by Peter Shankman, an entrepreneur and author. It is an efficient and direct source into the inbox of a journalist. There is both a free and paid version where each option provides journalists with a robust database of sources for features and quotes in upcoming stories.
HARO dishes out daily opportunities for entrepreneurs and brands to secure valuable media coverage. If you go for the paid version, you’ll receive updates based on keywords you set that are most valuable for your business. For The Buyer Group, as an example, our keywords include “public relations”, “branding”, “social media” and “social media PR.” HARO inquiries get delivered to your inbox three times a day, once in the morning, afternoon, and evening, all filled with opportunities to pitch your business.
#SocialPRSecret: The quicker you respond, the more valuable and noticeable your submission will be.
The Buyer Group recommends copying the exact query in an email, answer each question and then include a link to your personal or company LinkedIn page.
Want to stand out? Think outside the box. Feel free to try video responses but remember not to send big attachments - only links to your videos hosted on YouTube or Vimeo. "A few of the publications that I have not been published in, I've actually reached out to the reporter and asked them to keep me in mind for any other stories they are writing," said Brandon.
Miss the submission deadline? No problem, go the extra step especially if you are a good fit. Give journalists links to your blogs and social media sites to reference for future inquiries. Make sure to add a note in your pitch along the lines of: “if you’d like me to contribute on anything else on the topic of X, X, or X, please let me know.”
Track Your Mentions
Experienced PR practitioners know that journalists don’t always let you know when or if your article is published. Take charge yourself and curate content that mentions you and your brand. We recommend using the paid version of Brand24 to set up keywords like your full name and your brand name, plus any other relevant topics to track. Brand24 will give you an as-it-happens notification when something has been published online or in social media regarding your keywords. It also provides sentiment measurement so you can track all that comes with the joys of social media. If you’re looking for a light option to track your mentions, consider free tools such as Talkwalker and Google Alerts.
Don’t fall into the train of thought trap that deflects repurposing content. Once you have a quality piece of content, reuse it! Cut it up into bite size pieces and share it on social. Turn it into a video. Share it via email and all over your online accounts. If you’re in the health and wellness industry consider signing up for a Thrive Global contributor account.We also love Medium. It’s a great publishing platform for brands and entrepreneurs that want to self promote.
Every week, repurpose and share past content across channels: Twitter. LinkedIn. Facebook.
We also recommend wire services, specifically ereleases. It is white labeled through PRNewswire and costs less. With ereleases, real journalists subscribe to relevant categories for their beat (e.g business, sports, etc) and they get emailed the news right when the release goes live vs just distributing your release to the wire.
Promote your brand first hand via public speaking opportunities. Consider becoming a speaker and search for speaking opportunities. Pitch your local AMA, entrepreneurs or business chamber. Once you’ve had a few opportunities to test your craft, then graduate to conferences. It’s best to create a video of yourself speaking that you can share as a portfolio to potential conferences. This will also help with TV interview pitches.
#SocialPRSecret: To find potential speaking opportunities, use Twitter and type in #CallForSpeakers, for a list of conferences that are actively seeking speakers to submit.
Finally, optimize your bio and take ownership. Add “speaker” to your bio. Choose a headshot that represents you and your brand, and make sure you link all your social accounts and have them connected to your website. One of our favorite public relations tricks for entrepreneurs comes from Larry Kim. He suggests creating your own signature that goes into anything you produce. Include a CTA (call to action) and crosslink to your recent articles and blogs.
Entrepreneurs know that you’re only as good as your network. So remember to ask for advice.
Create relationships. Ask for help. Seek out public relations books you can read. It’s important to talk to journalists about topics other than when you’re trying to get coverage. Be kind, be humble and you’ll get the media relations results you deserve.
Want to know more about how social PR and media relations can support your plan to scale and grow? Schedule a call with us today!