6 PR tips to get your new business noticed

In two years, Hannah Haffield has gone from working at a PR agency to running one. Read her advice for start-ups looking to drive brand awareness...

Just under 18 months ago I was made redundant when the PR agency I was working for went into administration.

At the time, a very wise person said to me ‘from redundancy comes the most incredible things’… and they couldn’t have been more right.

You see, for years I had wanted to break free and start my own business. I had dabbled my toes in the water; servicing freelance clients in my own time but, let’s face it, it doesn’t really work. There is no risk factor, no fear, and, therefore, no real drive to push you forwards and ensure that you make that business a success.

Fast forward to November 2016 and I am the proud founder and director of Make More Noise; a PR and marketing agency which combines conventional PR with digital marketing to provide clients with effective, measurable campaigns that deliver results.

We boast a strong portfolio of clients including Climb Online, the digital marketing agency founded by 2014 Apprentice winner and Startups Awards 2016 commended Young Entrepreneur Mark Wright, alongside leading edtech firm e-Careers Limited.

I may be biased but PR is one of the most credible tools for reaching potential customers both quickly and cost-effectively.

So, if you’ve just launched a start-up and want to increase your brand awareness using PR, check out my top tips…

Objectives and outcome

With any public relations campaign, it’s important to have clear outcomes as a measure of your success. Thanks to platforms like Google Analytics, PR has never been so measurable.

So whether you want to increase web traffic or increase sales enquiries, set yourself a clear goal or target before you start to plan or implement any form of activity; that way you’ll know exactly what works and what doesn’t.

Make new friends

Contact relevant media outlets such as local press, trade publications and bloggers to introduce yourself and your business.

Remember press are normally on deadline, so ask if it’s a convenient time to talk and enquire as to the sort of material or content contributions they would be interested in.

Use this information to build a press list; divided by interest or sector, so that you waste no time in reaching out to the wrong people.

The ‘So what?’ rule

Approach all your PR efforts with the ‘So What?’ rule… If you’re just shouting about the fact you have launched a new special offer, is this something press are genuinely going to be interested in?

For news that may not appear so ‘press worthy’, look for alternative routes to market such as email marketing, digital advertising or sharing posts on social media.

Integrate

PR today is about far more than just who you know in the media world. It’s about understanding exactly what channels your target audiences use and engage with, and integrating your PR efforts with other marketing disciplines.

A big one here is SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). For every piece of press coverage you secure online, try to secure a link back to your website too. Aside from potentially increasing your web traffic, it should also help to move your website up the Google pecking order.

In addition, a more integrated campaign will help you reach and engage with more members of your target audience. Where one potential customer is reading about your new business development in the press, others may hear about it via social media, on your company blog, or even via email marketing.

Be innovative

Although ‘business news’-related press releases can be effective, a genius PR idea with exciting content to match is going to go a whole lot further.

Be different, innovative and creative with your PR campaign and think about how you can utilise PR to really stand out from your competitors, increase your brand awareness and drive those all-important sales.

Don’t flog a dead horse

If you passed the ‘So What?’ rule but aren’t getting much luck on the press coverage front then don’t continue to flog a dead horse or hang on to journalist’s words of ‘I’ll get back to you’.

Be honest with yourself, are they really that interested? If it hasn’t happened in a matter of weeks, and you’ve had little press engagement, it’s not going to happen. Re-strategise and move on.

Start-up PR checklist:

  • Ensure you have a way to measure the outcome and success of your PR campaigns
  • Build a press list by reaching out to relevant media outlets and enquire about forward features lists
  • Adopt the ‘So what?’ rule in all of your PR marketing activities
  • Be creative with your PR campaigns and integrate SEO
  • Re-strategise if your PR efforts don’t seem to be working

Hannah Haffield is founder and director of Make More Noise.

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