By Meghan Ely, OFD Consulting
Creating a public relations plan for your business can seem like a daunting task to some, and is often put on the back burner as something that can be done later down the road (aka never). But, guess what? PR is often what will get you the results you’ve been looking for all along- press features, an elevated reputation in the industry, and the clients you’ve always wanted.
So, why not go ahead and get started on your PR plan right now? We’ve got your first five steps below:
As with any project, doing the research is one of the most important steps. Start by taking a look at your own business and really understanding what your PR goals are. This is different for everyone, so you will want to build a custom roadmap with clearly defined goals so that you can better gauge your success.
From there, research and identify who your target audience is. It’s essential to know who you’re targeting your message to ahead of time so that it’s received successfully. Once you know who you want to get your business in front of, it’s time to get on your computer and do some digging into which outlets they are looking at for inspiration. If you think those sites fit in well with your brand, add them to your media “wish list” of publications. Remember, the best PR strategies are ones that identify the message you want to get out there, who the target audience is, and the best channels to get the message out.
Living in the age of technology has definitely been helpful for getting organized. There is an abundance of tools available to help keep your PR plan in check. Some of my personal favorites include real wedding submissions programs, like Two Bright Lights and Matchology, which make the process quick and easy. You simply upload your photos, the couple’s information and vendor information and click submit. Dropbox has been a lifesaver for keeping the many thousands of photos, articles, and media plans that we have on file organized and easy to find. Check out your app store and review sites to see which programs may work best for you.
Put Yourself Out There
If you want to get your business out there and seen as the best in your industry, then you need to get your voice out there as well. You’ve got to take advantage of your expertise and start sharing your insight with everyone. Reach out to editors and offer yourself as a resource, get in touch with local industry friends and ask if you can write a guest feature on their blog- the ball is in your court!
When you do get a feature, whether it’s a real wedding being published on a blog or your own expert commentary in an article, it’s time to celebrate. After you’ve done your happy dance, make sure you remember to promote the heck out of it. First, send a quick thank you to the editor that featured you – it will go a long way in helping to further build your relationship with them. Then, get on your social media accounts and share it with the rest of the world. If you have a blog, do a post about it that links back to both your feature and the website itself for an SEO bonus.
Just Keep Trying
When you’ve got your PR plan in motion it’s easy to get disheartened by the no’s you will receive from editors. But remember, everyone gets no’s- I do all the time (not to brag!). You just have to keep moving on to the next one until someone gives you a yes. It may be as easy as redirecting the same pitch to a better suited publication. A few no’s is not a reason to stop your PR plan, so just keep trying.
Once you’ve got your plan in place and get into a routine, your PR efforts are sure to pay off.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.