Posted: 11th May 2016
PR is hard to define; it does not fit into a little box. Some say it is all about brand awareness, and to a large extent this is true. But it is not just about getting your concept/product into the media arena. It could mean doing deals with an organisation or charity, setting up a launch, celebrity endorsement, working with other businesses, networking, building a reputation within an industry – the list is endless. Elevale PR has put together some simple tips to help you on the road to success.
Sounds simple enough, but you would be surprised at the number of clients who are not prepared. We have been approached by clients who want immediate PR/press coverage for a product that has no retail outlet and website businesses with no website – seriously! Ask yourself these questions; is your product/concept an impulse buy or an essential item? Will you get repeat orders? Consumables? Does it need to follow any regulations? Do you own the Patent/Trade mark? Who are your competitors? Think of PR as a sales job – it is the PR’s job to sell your product/concept to the media, which means they need to know everything there is to know about it, good and bad. Your PR consultant should then be able to offer advice and possibly find areas of promotion you have not even considered.
It is vital you know your target audience. Who is buying? Where and When? One well known success story was when Big Mouth Billy Bass, the singing fish, took off after the press revealed that it was a favourite of the Queen and Tony Blair. Where are the peaks and troughs in your business? Anniversary dates that suit your product, for example, if you are a jewellery company, you need to think ahead for valentines. If you are a toy company, Christmas is probably a peak time for you. Get this information together before embarking on PR.
Know your budget. Set aside a fixed amount for advertising and for PR. You will need high resolution professional images, a good website, samples for the press, good packaging/presentation, a good designer to help produce high quality adverts and promotional material. If you are considering doing the PR yourself, you will need to invest in media databases which can cost thousands per year, plus pay at least one 4 person to work full-time on your PR & Marketing. Your advertising budget needs to be planned around your PR. Are you interested in Exhibitions and Events? Working with a charity or celebrity? Can you offer competition prizes or reader offers for publications? All these points need to be explored and planned in advance.
This is always a tricky subject. It is important that you have realistic expectations. Using point 1 and 2, you should know who your target audience is and why they like the product. This information needs to be honest and factual, and not a forecast of what you think it should be. Ask people for honest feedback about your product/concept, but not family and friends!
If you would like a celebrity to endorse your product, be aware that you will have to pay for that, no celebrity will give you an endorsement or quote for nothing, not matter how fantastic your concept or product is. If you would like an A list celebrity, be aware that you will have to pay tens of thousands for that privilege. If you have a budget for a celebrity, choose that celebrity wisely. If your company has a whiter than white reputation, it could be ruined if your celebrity is pictured in the tabloids showing their knickers. On the other hand, it is not worth choosing a celebrity that no one wants to write about!
If you want to donate to charity, be aware that most charities ask for a payment. Donating a percentage of sales to a charity is good PR; however, you need to be sure that you can raise the minimum requirement set by the charity before you embark on the venture. This can range from a couple ofthousand to tens of thousands depending on what you require and the time frame.
There are some cases where this has worked, though they are few and far between. It depends on your expectations, budget and requirements. It is said that a customer has to see your product at least 3times before they notice it. This is where a combination of good PR and advertising works well. If you have a large budget, use it wisely and work with the PR coverage to create a good hit. If you have a very limited budget, advertise wisely. Promotional advertorial is often far more effective than classified advertising. Display advertising is more costly so consider your publication before committing. Aboveall, never pay rate card prices!
Image really is everything. This does not mean you have to be &ash or spend unnecessarily. Spend wisely. Invest in a functional and clean website, which is simple to navigate and is not too text heavy. Remember to proof and proof again as typing errors and spelling mistakes cheapen an image.
Good images are vital, not just for the customer, but also for the media. Again, keep these clean, ideally on a white background ‘unless lifestyle shots, and they must be high resolution. Remember, there are many stages to go through before your product appears in a publication.
• You or your agents have to contact the right journalist at the right time.
• You have to convince them that your product is fantastic, great price and ideal for their target audience.
• You have to provide a fabulous high resolution image of your product.
• The journalist then passes everything to the editor for approval ‘so they have to be happy(,
• They then pass it to the art director, and even if your product is the next big thing, they will not sully their publication by using an inferior image.
Sadly, as an agency, we have lost numerous editorial opportunities because the client has either failed to provide high res images to meet the deadlines or has provided an inferior image.
Some companies will benefit from speaking to your PR consultant to list with a recognised journalist site. This enables journalists to download high resolution images direct from the site, 24/7, with description and RRP, increasing your chance of editorial considerably.
Publications work in advance, which means you have to be one step ahead of them. For example:
•Monthly Publications work up to four months in advance
•Weekly Publications work from 8 -12 weeks in advance
•Daily Publications work 2 days – 4 weeks in advance
Publications also have forward feature lists. This is when they plan the following 6 months of publications, effectively that could mean up to 10 months in advance. It is therefore vital that you are ahead of the game. If you are planning to launch a product in the spring, you will need to start promoting that as early as October the year before. You will need products for samples if appropriate, high resolution images, stockist and RRP and full description ready in advance.
When you are close to your product, you believe everyone will want to write about it, and it can come as a shock to discover that it is not that easy. All products/concepts can reach a stagnant stage, and not matter how hard you try you may not get the editorial you crave. In order to pre-empt this, it is important to look at your company, yourself and your products and create ideas for new stories. Maybe you are a mother of two, who abandoned her high flying career to have children, and is now setting up a new company. Women’s glossies love inspirational stories. Maybe you live in a beautiful house which would be ideal for an ‘at home’ feature? Look at anniversaries, trends, news stories and fit your company/product to them. Do you have an ethical product? Maybe fair trade week will be good for you? Has your company won an award?
Sometimes the most obvious story is often neglected.