PR Can Pack a Punch in the Credit Crunch!
By Aneela Rose
It's crunch time. With a global economic downturn underway, it's more important than ever that companies increase their efforts in attracting new business. Raising your company profile, in what will be a shrinking market, will not only secure business for you now, but will put you in a strong position when the economy turns around.
PR and Marketing activities are often the first to be cut but reductions in these areas can have a negative impact on sales and long term stability of your business.
In fact, when times are hard, meeting your target audience head on is when effective PR and Marketing can make all the difference. The most successful companies will keep their name in the public eye, particularly when customer loyalty is unpredictable. And even though consumer mood is changing, spending hasn't stopped, people are simply making more careful choices than before.
Promoting new ideas and nurturing new business contacts and relationships during a potentially turbulent time is essential and whilst there will be casualties, other businesses will strengthen their resources and build upon their existing assets. PR is about sending out clear, consistent and confident messages, and maintaining a strong presence in the market will strengthen your credibility which will be appealing to your audience.
Aneela Rose offers advice on running cost-effective PR campaigns as the economy slides downwards and bites small businesses:
Don't churn out press releases, be targeted
Journalists receive a filthy number of news stories every day. If you send irrelevant information, you will grab their attention for completely the wrong reason and they will not thank you for it.
Your goal is to be written about. You need to research your audience and target the publications they are reading. It's that simple. You may find there are only two magazines that are relevant, but you have a greater chance of being featured in a well researched and targeted publication than if you bombarded fifty publications with a general release. Focus your activity.
Use your imagination to come up with great stories
Your story needs to stand out from the hundreds of others displayed in the journalists' inbox. Think about why your company is worth writing about, your news needs to be appealing to the journalist if you are to get their attention immediately. The use of dramatic headlines always helps but be careful it's not controversial or too sensational, particularly with the business press.
Discussing ideas with other people in your business, even outside your business, can be a great way of exchanging thoughts and finding out what's going on in the company that's newsworthy. Get more people involved and have fun with creative ideas to generate news that really stands out.
Journalists are our friends!
If you do the above two actions, then you have a great friendship in the making! Winning the journalist over is the battle almost won. Provide them with news, ideas for articles and features, case studies, photographs, testimonials from senior people within the company, expert opinion, the list is endless.
You can win them over with the right information sent at the right time.
Don't be old hat, stay current
Keep up to date with what's happening in your industry sector and the business world generally. The media will be more interested in what you have to say if you are seen to be an expert in your sector.
There's no point sending out press releases of a product you launched last year or an event that happened months ago. It's got to be 'now' news, not yesterday's news.
It doesn't end here
If you secure press coverage, use it! Email your customers, suppliers and business contacts to tell them you're in the news. People love reading about companies they know personally, never underestimate the power of word of mouth.