Capturing Free Media Publicity
By Roger Pierce
The very nature of a professional firm lends itself more to working in the practice than on the growth of the practice. Yet to keep your firm growing, it’s important to spend some time on the latter, especially focusing on your media profile. Here’s how to make public relations, or “PR” work for you.
Get media ready
Consider what it is about you or your practice that would be of interest to the media. Reporters value news and expertise.
• Unusual projects
• Community involvement
• Green initiatives
• Innovative strategies
• Awards and achievements
• New products or services
Expertise can be:
• Background information
• Different points of view
• Substantiating evidence
• Data and statistics
• Professional opinions
Develop a plan
Once you understand what you have to offer the media, you can develop your plan. Follow these steps to build your P.R. plan:
• Clarify who your customers are and what media they follow
• Research the publications, radio, TV and internet sites that will best reach your customers
If your customers are internet savvy, ensure that you research online media options carefully.
• Develop a database of media contacts
• Determine what specific value you have to offer
• Do things that get you noticed by your preferred media:
• Speak at events
• Write an article or book
• Do volunteer work
• Take leadership roles in your community
• Take on interesting, high profile clients
• Begin communicating through targeted press releases
• Follow up on press releases with phone calls
• Keep at it--just like sales, it can take many contacts to get results
Write an effective media release
Before writing your press or “media” release, look for examples online. This will give you a sense of what is expected. Remember that the goal of your release is to make life easier for the editor. Start with a strong headline and lead that hit the attention grabbing point of the message. Write the release like a news article. The first paragraph should deliver all the important information so that, should the editor want to cut most of the article due to space availability, your message will still be delivered.
If you do PR yourself, it costs no more than your time. But time is valuable, so think it through, develop a detailed plan and execute with care.