Business journalists like me greet the arrival of summer with a great sigh of relief. Executives take time off, companies slow down and advertisers go with the flow—meaning there are fewer pages for us writers and editors to fill. Visit our newsrooms on a Friday, and we’re likely to be working 9 to 5, instead of 8 to 6.
This blissful lull lasts all of about two weeks. Come mid-July, we’re back to the grind, scrambling to produce the magazine stories, blog posts and podcasts our audiences and advertisers will demand from us come Labour Day.
Which makes summer the perfect time to be pitching your story to the media.
Regrettably, the majority of business owners undervalue public relations as a marketing tool. Granted, the ROI on any PR campaign is hard to quantify—a fact that surely sours many business owners on the whole notion of public relations. But because media coverage is earned—not bought—it has the power to cut through cynicism more than any other marketing vehicle except for positive word of mouth. (And try quantifying that.)
The applications of PR also extend far beyond pushing product. PR can brand your company as an employer of choice. It can establish your company as a thought leader or trusted advisor. And it can create a subconscious impression within the market that, all other things being equal, your enterprise is just better to do business with. With that foundation, your other marketing and sales efforts are more likely to succeed.
So, how can you get your own PR campaign off the ground at a time when many journalists are searching for stories to tell and have more time than usual to consider your pitch? Here are some insider tips:
1) Prepare a media kit. A media kit is the office supply cabinet of the PR world, containing the fundamental assets a journalist needs to produce coverage of your company. A comprehensive media kit will include:
Hard copy media kits are still accepted by media outlets, but you should make its contents available in digital form on your website.
In addition to this media relations staple, there are a number of additional steps you can take to grab the attention of a journalist. In my next post I’ll outline some tactics which can be used to sell a reporter on why your business deserves to be in the spotlight.
Ian Portsmouth is the Publisher and Editor of PROFIT Magazine, and the host of the BMO Business Coach Podcast.