As we get closer to our upcoming free webinar, hosted with Krystal Covington of Women of Denver…ps read her story here….my favorite part is: “Then I hit the streets to shake hands and take names (literally, that’s all I did),”…we are consciously taking a moment to reflect on what public relations really are and mean in the year 2016.
The best way to describe how PR works and the many shapes it can have is to provide you with real-life examples. Here are a few different ways that some tiny, some small and some kinda small businesses made the news recently with our help.
I had the pleasure of working with a very popular haunted house group last year. What a trip! This was not a small business. Small compared to huge, but huge compared to a solopreneur or small business. They had the luxury of a large advertising budget and name recognition, yes.
But, without an effective public relations pitch, this haunt could have easily fallen into the cheesy, discarded category of “non news.”
To the rescue! PR! We got creative and found the daytime shows that tour Halloween events. They were in. We angled our pitch on DIY stage makeup and re-did anchors into zombies on air. We also focused on the business side along the lines of, “What’s Does It Take to Operate a Seasonal Haunted House?” And, we pitched lifestyle magazines on human interest stories such as actor profiles. Imagine a headline something like: “Grocer by day; Ghoul by Night: The Inside Life of a Haunted House Actor.” Or something…..
You get the picture. When you can take a story or happening and shift it into a relatable news or human interest story, based on what the media outlet tends to publish (and you’re really nice), you can get featured on the news without paying advertiser rates.
2. Mr. Rodgers is in the Neighborhood
Sorry to get you excited about the late ’80’s idyllic Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood, but you will notice that I caught your attention. That’s what headlines can do for you. They attract your reader, then educate them on your story.
For this one, we are referring to Mr. Rodgers of another neighborhood – Denver. Mr. Rodgers is a therapist who has moved from working under the umbrella of a larger organization to finally fulfilling his dream of being independent.
In order to gain an audience and increase his influence, Mr. Rodgers began blogging on his website. He decided to take it further and made an account to post in the community section of the largest newspaper in his city.
His articles are routinely published, gaining him access to tens of thousands of additional people he wasn’t able to with his blog alone. He was also able to “tag” the publication AND its section on social media (yes, the section has its own page too), gaining exposure to an even bigger audience.
Oh….and did we mention the bragging rights? Yep!
3. Do Gooders
One of our first forays into public relations is a big part of the force for good at Faceted Media. Starting a local law firm from scratch (imagine two folding tables and two laptops) wasn’t an easy task. We had a great concept and a marketing machine (plus, ahem, an excellent sales executive), but there were still areas that remained untapped.
As a new business, it was a struggle to get the word out, without it costing a pretty penny. Think: vendor fees, tents, banners, sponsorships, advertising, etc. Yes, well, we can do those, but it’s not very easy to get a return on advertising. In fact, it’s impossible to know exactly. You never truly know the reach you get, or whether it will come back to you, or what percentage of your sales could be owed to its success.
A better way is to utilize PR. Yes, it will take some of your time, but not your actual cash flow. It’s a way to be authentic, target your audience, share your knowledge and get noticed by a way bigger audience than you may currently reach. You might fail, but at least it cost you nothing.
For this teeny, tiny little law firm, they succeeded in holding an annual charity drive that was featured in several prominent newsletters, general publications and even ended up as a feature on both television and radio. The drive also created a steady flow of foot traffic. Not too bad for something that gives back too!
Curious about PR and how to create pitches that the media finds worthy of share? Join myself and Krystal Covington of Women of Denver for PR101, a free webinar to learn all about it.
When: Wednesday, March 16th at 1:30pm MST