A Publicity Crash Course

You shouldn’t have to wait for a public relations crisis to create an effective publicity plan. You can develop a successful public relations strategy anytime, even when there doesn’t seem to be any breaking news. Here’s a “crash course” of four tips you can start working on right now: crash course

1 – Ask yourself these three questions:

  • What are newsworthy items at my company (such as promotions and new hires, recent product developments, survey results, volunteer projects)?
  • In what areas is my business the most trusted?
  • At my company, who is the best source for the media?

2 – Be an expert.

Let journalists know what issues you can comment on, and give them some helpful information such as links to resources, articles, and even other people who can help expand their knowledge.

When you want to offer a media professional insight on a topic that is developing, you can send an email such as this:

I saw your article about [insert topic]. I actually have experience with such a situation because I do [specify your specialty]. If you need further information or would like to include some comments about it, please contact me at the email address or phone number below. I also know someone who has experience with [something relevant], and I can give you their contact information as well.

3 – Press releases aren’t always the only solution.

Some people spend a lot of time on a press release and send it out to several contacts, assuming the media will automatically respond. If your press release sounds like you’re trying to sell something instead of communicating a story, they probably won’t be interested. A press release should have useful, concrete information about a relevant topic, especially one that is connected to current trends. Basically, press releases should fit with other parts of your publicity plan (such as social media, articles, videos) instead of being the only trick in your bag.

4 – Create your own content.

I touched upon this above–you should write articles for publications or websites that relate to your area of expertise. You should also look for outlets where your potential clients “hang out.” On your website, offer useful information that people can read or download. For instance, you could provide advice for common issues, or offer a “how to” guide that people can save as a PDF. If you’re using social media, share links to articles that you or others have written, which can help your current and potential clients.

In today’s diversified media climate, it’s important to think creatively to stay top-of-mind, whether events seem major or minor. After all, public relations is no longer about sending out a press release or holding a press conference. It’s about how you can communicate your message most effectively on a variety of platforms.

A version of this blog post first appeared at the Law Firm Consultants Network of Chicago.