PR is an incredibly powerful tool for business growth and development, but before you dive right in with a PR agency, or even your own in-house PR, there are certain things it’s important to get sorted in preparation.
There are a few things that every PR consultancy will need from you to begin the process. Not having one of the following sorted before launching can cause delays and complications further down the line and so it’s vital to get your ducks in a row to prevent any problems arising.
Website – no glitches, no spelling mistakes
Your website needs to make a fantastic first impression. It says everything you stand for clearly and reflects what you have communicated elsewhere. Less is more, so with a new site, focus on getting a few pages spot on initially and then build from there, rather than trying to stretch yourself too thinly with content that hasn’t been fully proofed.
As PRs we will link every journalist we speak to back to your website and in turn, they need to be able to feature it in their write-up, if relevant. And if there are errors, spelling mistakes, the inability to purchase something or there is too much friction in the user experience, this will reflect badly on your business. It might even make the difference between whether you are featured or not.
Your website is your internet home-base and you will send everyone there. Make sure before you start getting visitors, you’re absolutely ready to receive them.
Images – good, high resolution
We wrote a piece on the importance of good photography in PR recently, so take a look to see why images are vital to secure good PR coverage. It’s key you have good professional-looking headshots, pictures of any team altogether and even good images of your products.
Don’t go with shots you’ve gone off or worse still, never did like but felt you should use. Journalists will almost always require a good quality image along with any piece and it may even make for a bigger and better article or position.
It might sound obvious but we need up to date, accurate and relevant contact details for both the business as a whole and key individuals within the business. This is not only so that we can contact you, but so that should it be necessary, we can direct journalists your ways to interviews and prospective clients to the right place.
We can help you to think about who your key spokesperson or spokespeople will be and ensure they are easily contactable in a variety of ways. If they don’t work certain days or hours, it’s good to know up-front. We will also talk to you before any interviews to help you prepare. For a bit more on this see our recent post on how to prepare for journalist interviews.
Social media – updated, active, ready to respond
Social media is a huge part of PR. It’s a great place to share content and interact with journalists. Social media builds awareness and demonstrates your connection to your customers and other members of the community. An inactive social media account reflects poorly on a business and can imply you’re not participating or engaging any longer. It can ultimately lead to a loss in credibility and followers.
When you start doing PR, you need a place to interact with and share both your own content and the content of others within your community. This will mean every piece of PR gets as wide a reach as possible. People within your business circles can also then see you putting yourself out there. You don’t need every account available – try and focus on one or two that really resonate with your audience. At Carnsight we’re most active on Instagram and Twitter.
Marketing plans – so we can dovetail
Marketing and PR should work hand-in-hand and help support each other. There’s more here in our piece on PR and marketing with marketing consultant, Nat Sharp. It’s important we know your marketing and any content plan and ensure they work alongside our strategy and timings. Knowing who you’re contacting and when can help refine our target audience, and all messaging should be aligned.
Knowing you’re advertising in a publication could also be useful. While we focus on editorial not commercial content, there could be a potential tie-up. Equally, you could use coverage your PR agency has generated in your marketing campaigns.
If you’re feeling completely stuck with where to start with your PR, don’t panic! You can read our blog on PR tips for small businesses. We’d love to discuss how to help, so feel free to give us a call or drop us an email.