Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
Technology has transformed the way we find, connect with and grow our customers. As businesses and consumers increasingly move online, the barriers between you and your audience break down, and it becomes possible for companies to form more direct relationships with their clients. Succeeding in this world requires understanding and excelling at public relations, or PR.
I recently launched a bestseller campaign for the comedy book I wrote about prison, Don’t Drop the Soap, and attracted a media frenzy, with outlets such as CBS, FoodBeast, CheddarTV, KCAL 9 and many more picking up the story. Leveraging PR is what ultimately led to my book becoming a bestseller. PR is how businesses establish trust with consumers. It's basically a third-party endorsement. With traditional media now supplemented by social media and online content, good PR makes the connection with your customers a two-way street.
I recently sold a SaaS startup called Hooty.co to Press Hunt and merged with the team. Our product is a SaaS tool that helps agencies, founders and Fortune 500 companies access a large database of journalists, podcasts, articles and PR resources. Leveraging connections with the press is vital for building a good PR campaign, and finding effective PR tools like Press Hunt creates that competitive advantage for driving PR and establishing those relationships.
There’s more you can do than just meeting the right people (although you should definitely still grow your media network). Below, I list six different steps you can take to build your PR momentum.
1. Be social-media savvy.
It’s no secret that posting valuable content about your product or service consistently will get the attention of others. With more than 70 percent of U.S. citizens with a profile on at least one platform, this is a huge audience. I promote my social-media posts to boost engagement and activity. Promoting my social-media platforms has gained the attention of users and companies who may not have already been paying attention. Don’t just post links; let people know your new story is up.
2. Use a PR article as an ad and promote it to engage new audiences.
You should find every opportunity to get your message in front of people multiple times. Only 2 percent of people make a purchase with one exposure, so if you aren’t repeating yourself, you're losing. When I accrue earned PR, one way to increase its value is to post it on Facebook and promote it to people who like certain media outlets. If my content appeals to their audience, then the media outlet could find the content quite valuable. I always make sure my content relates to other content that the outlet has covered for the best result.
3. Inclue PR articles in sales packets.
Adding the PR article into my sales copy has been an effective marketing strategy for me. Customers like seeing this type of content to get a better sense of your message and value. It’s another great way to engage them, and as we said, the more ways you can get your message in front of people, the better.
4. Link to relevant sources in the article.
One of the primary goals of PR is establishing subject-matter expertise. When creating a PR article, I make sure there are links included that are relevant to the readers of the outlet I’m targeting. By linking to other sources, you demonstrate niche expertise and industry knowledge and establish yourself as a trusted advisor. These values are increasingly important to millennials who expect their brands to engage with them regularly. This also helps with your website's domain authority and backlinking, which will help attract more viewers.
5. Create newsworthy context around your product or service.
When good news happens to your company, it’s your job to spread the word. Whether it’s achieving a major milestone, human-interest stories that relate to your product or just market trends that validate your product’s value, getting that information in front of people is crucial. Newsworthy content stands out and attracts media and consumers. I aim for headlines of content to be engaging to get media sources interested in promoting it. Establishing a newsworthy context is one of the best hacks for leveraging PR. Remember, if there is nothing to make your product or service stand out, chances are consumers will find it boring.
6. Localize and personalize.
PR management used to be as easy as crafting one general article. Today’s customers prefer to feel like the content is speaking to them. A recent marketing study showed that the most common complaint about ads was a lack of personalization, or making your content relatable and on-brand. I want to be able to pull consumers in by building trust and understanding. I aim to win them over versus any other company who does generic marketing. By making your content more targeted locally, you can also appeal to local reporters who have a significant following and cover stories related to your business. This is what we did with my book launch. I had a launch party in Venice, California and was able to attract local news outlets.
Transcending just press relations, social media and online presence have transformed the way people can develop their brand and cultivate a customer base. By following these and other tips, you can grow strong momentum and leverage PR for growth and sales.