There are so many things that a PR specialists could be doing to help you manage your stakeholder relationships. Writing and sending out press releases is only a small, and probably the least interesting, part of their day. Make sure that you get the best out of them. Here are just a few more things they could be doing for your business.
Pitching editorial ideas
If you want to be seen as an expert in your field, for example as a consultant, trainer or coach, it will help if you can get some articles into the media that your target audiences will want to read. You may be an excellent speaker, but writing may not be your strength. A PR specialist could not only help you write your article but also use their expertise, and contacts, to pitch your idea to editors. It’s much better to have a writing commission in place before you start writing. Apart from the fact that it will be more likely to get published if it meets the brief, it will also help you to know who you are writing for, and have them in mind, as you put ‘pen to paper’.
Pitching to busy editors is quite a skill and a specialist will know what the key media are looking for, and how to put it to them. They will also be in a better position to reassure the editor that the deadline and brief will be met. The last thing any editor wants is to find that, come the publishing deadline, they have a gaping hole where a well-written piece should be.
Introducing you as an opinion leader
A sprinkling of opinions adds colour to an article and journalists like to have people that they can approach for a quick response. You may not always have a new product or the next big idea to talk about but, if you have some opinions that are relevant to your industry, it would be good to be recognised as a ‘go to’ person for a topical comment. Your PR specialist can introduce you to key journalists at every level as one to watch. The editor of The Times might not be beating a path to your door immediately but your local media might and that’s always a good place to start.
Writing speeches that work
Even the best speaker can come unstuck on the day when faced with a time slot and an over-zealous chairperson. Getting someone to write your speech so that it flows, fits the allotted time, and covers all the salient points, may seem like a luxury but it could make all the difference. Say you had to present to neighbouring businesses, and local councillors, to win their approval on the planning for your next venture. With a poorly prepared speech you might inadvertently miss out the benefits to your audience, lose their vote, and delay the project.
Making celebrity connections
Nothing attracts attention to a launch or opening like a celebrity. Whether you’ve seen them in the media, or the town hall in the case of the local mayor, having a local celebrity adds sparkle and a level of endorsement to an occasion. If your PR specialist has celebrity connections, however minor, they might be able to help with product launches, and retail openings. Who knows, as you become more successful, you might find that you are the local celebrity who is invited to cut that ribbon.
Planning for a crisis
Stuff happens – it’s a fact of life – however, what sorts the wheat from the chaff is how we deal with it when it does happen. A good PR specialist will help you look at scenarios and plan for a potential crisis before it happens. For example, your business may make children’s toys and potential scenarios might include coping if there was an accident as a direct result of a child playing with one of your products. Most business leaders have learned not to say ‘No comment’ but what should you say instead, who would be your agreed spokesperson, what activities would you roll out to keep stakeholders informed while you dealt with the situation. These are the kind of things that you don’t want to be sorting out on the hop. In the heat of the moment, and suddenly caught off guard by a local journalist, people say the first thing that comes to mind. Even when it is genuine, and from the heart, it can be the stuff of PR nightmares. Make sure you sleep soundly at night by having in a place a PR crisis management plan that you will hopefully never need.
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