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The art of PR

You have a new project to launch, a new product coming to market, or something to tell the world. The plan is to communicate through PR but first off, you need a plan! Emma Jones of Enterprise Nation sets out four steps to see you through to success.

PR planning

If you’re starting or growing a business from home, there’s never been a better time to be heard as the media looks for interesting stories of start-up success. Here’s how to go about achieving your column inches and headline quotes.

1. Be clear on the message – any campaign needs a clear and strong message that preferably comes with figures to back it up, a quote from an influential figure and maybe a case study of someone within the release. For example, you are about to launch a new organic food product for toddlers. Your release announces the launch, states the rise in the number of people choosing organic food, quotes a top nutritionist on the benefits of your approach and tells (briefly) the story of a family enjoying your products. Add a picture of you/products/the case study and you’ve offered the journalist a number of ‘press hooks’ on which they can hang this story.

2. Be clear on the audience – knowing your audience will help determine the channels through which you’d like to be covered. Taking the example of the above story; you are probably wanting parents of toddlers to be reading about your new product so find out the publications they read, the online forums they frequent and the programmes they watch. This becomes your target PR list; once you have the channels identified, find out the key editorial/production contacts and make a personal approach to each.

3. Make life easy for the journalist – do be sure the journalist you’re approaching does cover the kind of news you are about to send! Submit your press release as an attachment and in the body of the email, send low res images (in the first instance) so it’s not too heavy to download, include contact details for you and for your case study and if you haven’t heard anything in a week or so, follow up with a friendly prompt email or call to ask if the journalist is interested in covering your piece. Before calling, bear in mind reporting deadlines and avoid calling at these times eg for a Sunday paper, don’t call on a Friday afternoon as you won’t get much of a response!

4. Make friends and make efficiencies – keep in touch with the journalists who do cover your story so the relationship develops in to one where they turn to you for comment on topics related to your industry. After a PR campaign, measure what’s worked (spikes of traffic on the site on certain days that correspond with media activity/direct follow up from potential customers quoting they had spotted you in certain articles/features etc) Measuring the results will help determine if you approach the same channels for your next campaign, or focus on those displaying the best response, mixed with an experiment of new outlets.

Take these simple steps yourself or outsource part of it/all of it to a PR company. Maybe you need help with contacts? Need someone to proof-read the release? Find experts who can help. Dedicate some time to a media campaign and you will almost certainly benefit from the results!

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About Emma Jones

Emma Jones is Founder and Editor of Enterprise Nation, the home business website. She has successfully started two businesses from home offices in London, Manchester and rural Shropshire. Following a career with an international accountancy firm, Emma started her first home based business at the age of 27 and successfully sold it just 15 months after launch. Redbrick Enterprises Ltd was founded in 2002 to advise the public sector on effective homeworking. Spotting a gap in the market to provide information and inspiration to homeworkers, Emma launched Enterprise Nation [www.enterprisenation.com], the home business website, in January 2006. The website is a free resource for people starting and growing a business at home and has a readership of more than 390,000 people. As well as site content, there is also a free fortnightly e-newsletter and podcast. Emma’s first book on how to start a business from home Spare Room Start Up: How to Start a Business from Home will be published by Harriman House in May 2008.

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