Even novice entrepreneurs understand the power of advertising. Paid exposure can work as an effective and far-reaching tool to familiarize the public with a company name. Few people go into business without expecting to fork over a little money for advertisements, but this isn’t the sole route to success. Skilled public relations (PR) can spread the word about your products and services for free. Although some people have developed blinders against commercials, billboards, or web banners, PR efforts will still grab their attention—especially when information is coming from a source they already know and trust.
Networking with journalists and other media professionals is the first step to successful PR. Don’t just purchases advertorial space in relevant publications and websites; aim to get your business legitimately mentioned in the content. You can achieve this by mastering the art of the press release. A press release is a short document alerting journalists about newsworthy events and developments surrounding a company. They should be both informative and persuasive, answering the basic questions for the story while also showing the journalist why the information deserves to be published.
Press kits are a step up from the press release. They offer a broader picture of the company, along with more detailed information. Your kit might include:
- The company history
- Pictures that could accompany an article
- Details about the company’s executives
- Clips from past media attention
- Product descriptions
- Product samples
- Business cards for the people to contact if further information is needed
When several media outlets are interested in a story, PR representatives often choose to schedule a press conference. During these events a written speech is given, typically followed by a question-and-answer segment for the crowd. Successful press conferences require much preparation. Most importantly, the PR representative must anticipate what kinds of questions he might be asked so he can consider his answers in advance.
The Internet has provided a multitude of opportunities for PR. Representatives are connecting with potential customers and loyal patrons through blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media. Even interviews can be conducted through email, and virtual press conferences are held with web conferencing software. Although the Internet does not erase traditional means of PR, it can amplify and quicken their approaches while bringing your company a wider and more interactive audience.