Have you ever wondered how to get your message in the media without paying a fortune for advertising?
The accepted wisdom is that you can’t. But my experience is that it is easy if you understand how to use PR.
I’m frequently quoted in the national media and 90% of the time it is the journalists that makes the first approach.
The great thing about PR in that it is free and can help you reach huge numbers of people very quickly. It is also available to you 24/7, requires no special equipment and can go worldwide in minutes.
PR is An Underrated Marketing Channel & Can Make You Huge Profits
In a few days I’m being flown to Scotland to work with a new client. They contacted me after reading one of my PR stories. We’d had no previous contact until then.
Over the last years I’ve netted £thousands of new business solely due to PR.
How can I use PR to market my business?
People often ask me this. They think it is complicated and requires big budgets. It is actually simple, costs next to nothing (often nothing at all) and you don’t even need a story to tell (or at least not in the first instance).
In fact I’ve often found it harder to get my own stories in the media than to comment on breaking stories. You see the media are wary of people trying to use them to get free advertising. They will cover stories you put forward but you need to write a media release that is impartial, tells a good story and matters to their readers.
Local papers will sometimes cover these stories and, if written well enough, will sometimes print them verbatim. But larger publications tend to dig a bit deeper and put their own slant on a story. They’ll interview a few people and get some quotes. To get the quotes they want they will often lead the interviewee to say something they want to cover. Those that say the “wrong” things will not make the article.
There is a skill in handling these interviews if you don’t want your integrity compromised. But over time it gets easier and I often give the pros and cons of a situation in my interviews. The knack is in not being quoted one sided. The way to handle this is in the way you phrase your answers.
Of course some reporters will twist what you say or take it out of context. For this reason there are some publications I will not talk to and some individual reports I refuse. Integrity is all.
Being the person that the media phones for an interview or to help with research take time to achieve, but isn’t beyond 99% of readers of this post.
Getting the media to chase you
I previously said you don’t need a story of your own. Let me explain how this works. There are PR opportunities when a story breaks and the media phone you as the authority on a particular topic. An example of this occurred for me a few days ago when The Sun phoned me for my views on a JK Rowling / Harry Potter story they were researching. And within 48 hours my views were plastered across a red top newspaper. But even if it hadn’t been published, I now have a contact on a tabloid and that is worth having if you want to pitch a story.
Over the last few years I’ve been published by most of the quality press in the UK and have been on most of the BBC local radio stations. Plus I’ve been featured in major publications in papers as diverse as the Harare times and Sydney Chronicle. Add in appearances on TV in at least eight countries. In addition a good number of major businesses have featured me on their websites. So you can see that PR has its place in my marketing.
It isn’t that I’m doing something here that you can’t do. I’m just adopting the right mindset and beat my competitors hands down.
More importantly you can also achieve exactly the same by adopting the same mindset.
NewsJack Your Next Story
There are ways in which, even if the media don’t phone you, you can get your views out there and published. The process is called newsjacking.
Essentially when a story breaks you don’t wait until someone phones you, you write or record your comments on audio or video and send them to publications.
This saves the reporter looking for an expert. Being busy, if your views strike the right note, your’e an answer to a prayer.
I’ve previously written about newsjacking with posts on
Using Newsjacking as a Marketing and PR tool
NewsJacking: Does Newsjacking take a lot of time?
Top PR Techniques: Newsjacking
And what about turning mishaps and business failures into a positive PR experience?
That’s next week’s post. Be sure to check it out.