If you've recently launched your own project, you'll know how important it is to reach the right kind of audience, and that one way to achieve this is through exposure in the media. As a publicist, a lot of people approach me with the basic question, "how can I get good PR for my project?"
The answer is simpler than you might think. Below is a broad, introductory guide to approaching PR if you're a newbie:
1. Identify the story that your project can tell - what's interesting/ new/ unique/ particularly excellent about it? If you can't answer that, then go back to the drawing board and improve your concept before investing your resources in press.
2. Find a person who can tell your story. Is there a celebrity who is a fan? Is there a real life person or is there a large enough volume of people that can tell a good story about your project? Do you have an interesting spokesperson in your CEO or founder whose vision will tell an inspiring story? It doesn't have to be a specific person - if the volume or type of demographic of people taking up your product in itself is interesting, then those stats can tell the story too. If you don't have people who can tell your story, go back to the drawing board and find them.
3. Find the right moment to tell your story - is there a national or international event that is relevant? Is there a new activity or activity extension launch that you can announce? Is there a limited time period during which your project is particularly relevant, for example Christmas or the summer holidays?
4. Identify the people you want to hear about your story and by extension your business. Are they mums, kids, men who like motorbikes, urban city dwellers, people short on time, wealthy people, people on a budget? Find the demographic you want to reach and to whom your business is relevant.
5. Find out what and who the people you want to reach, read, watch and listen to; this can be media outlets, blogs, or networks whether online or grouped around membership organisations. Compile a list of the writers, editors and commissioners at the organisations who produce content that is interesting to the people you want to reach.
6. You have now identified a story to tell to the people you want to hear it, the right time to tell it, and a person or people who can tell that story well. You have now also identified the media outlets and other organisations that produce content that the demographic of people you want to reach consume. It's time to write your press release, put together press assets, and compile a list of journalists, editors and other content producers to pitch your story to.
7. Your press release should be as short as possible, while your press assets should be as plentiful as possible. The press release tells the journalist what the story is by answering the following questions: what, when, who, where, why and how? The press assets allow the journalist to tell the story; they are images, videos, spokespeople they can interview, and evidence (like stats) to demonstrate the truth of the story.
8. Once you have your press release, press assets and a list of people to pitch to, start introducing yourself, your project and your story to the list, giving each journalist a heads up that the story is coming and letting them understand what's involved and when. At this point a range of methods and styles is available to you. You might want to do an "embargoed" release, which means that the news is available on a certain day and time and give journalists the press release some time before them to allow them to write the story. Or you might want to work exclusively with the largest publisher to give them early access to the story. Or you might want to hold an event and announce your story there.
9. If you do this well, you can then continue to nurture the relationships with the media you have made and continue to work on new stories and moments related to your business to grow your awareness and reputation.
10. You can also choose whether this is something you want to do yourself (full control, full knowledge of your business, but time intensive and you may not have the experience), hire someone in-house (large amount of control, cheaper in the sense that an in-house PR's time will be less expensive than your time), or hire an agency or external consultant (less control, more expensive, but you'll have someone with expertise, experience and contacts to do it on your behalf).