How is doing your own PR different if you have a service instead of a product to promote?
With products, your focus is getting featured and reviewed, being seen in gift guides, new product spreads, offering product in competitions and giveaways, and occasionally providing some expert commentary on a particular product segment. But, when it comes to services, my experience shows that it’s all about the three Cs – your credibility, content and case studies.
1. Credibility: having a good spokesperson.
A good spokesperson is someone who is available 24/7 (well within business hours at least!) and able to respond to journalists on the same day and ideally, within a few hours. The owner, founder or managing director of the company is often well placed to provide comment as they hold a position of seniority, and know their business. And, the media love hearing information straight from the top.
Building your reputation in the media as a reliable source or commentator comes down to being available when media want comment, having credible information to talk about, being opinionated and well spoken.
You might want to update your biography on your website, and include it in story pitches and alongside media releases. A Make sure you list your qualifications, experience and any media appearances you have had because if the media know you’ve been on TV or radio, they’re more likely to contact you for comment. Even if you believe you have the gift of the gab, consider doing some media training if you plan on being the front person for your PR campaign. It will improve your confidence and performance.
Also consider investing in professional photography every few years so your look doesn’t appear dated. It’s a good idea to have high quality images ready when you need them.
2. Content: being knowledgeable, with a fresh angle on a topic.
This means knowing your stuff. It means having statistics, numbers, survey results, and facts at your fingertips. Journalists also appreciate talking to people who are involved in the industry they operate in and have their finger on the pulse when it comes to latest trends and issues in a particular sector. So make an effort to read the news daily, stay connected with peers and attend industry events.
In the decade of social media, it also helps to have your own blog to help promote your positioning as a thought-leader. And, be generous with the content you produce – perhaps you could contribute articles to existing media sites or blogs too? The more your name appears in the media, the more likely you are to get asked for comment in the future. And, remember to also make the most of social media. If you have news to share, make sure it’s on Facebook and Twitter.
3. Case studies: having your customers tell their story.
When you have a service to promote, having strong customer case studies is a key part of generating good news stories. Make an effort to build relationships with your customers and ask them if they would be willing to talk about their experiences of your business. You can offer to write these up for them and have them on file, if and when a media opportunity arises. Remember to capture the problem, the solution and the results. These can also be used as testimonials and add credibility to your website.