First things first. Get your blog and social media right up to date.
On your blog;
- Write a few relevant, pithy, interesting and informative posts and schedule them to appear before, during and after the time at which you think you will be contacting PR’s
- Double check spelling and grammar
- Try and illustrate posts with a great photo – doesn’t have to be your own photo but make sure you have a clear credit if you are using someone else’s work. Ask permission to reproduce their image, if required
- Check your stats – page views per month, Google page rank, average number of comments (commonly known as engagement levels in the PR industry) and anything else that you think might be useful or relevant for your PR friend to know
On social media;
- Make sure your social media feed is looking nice and active – a RT’s are fine, but try to generate your own interesting content and commentary (again, relevant to your subject area). Engage in blog chats and groups, relevant to your subject area too
- Do all of this before, during and after your contact with the PR
- Check your stats – number of followers, a list of anyone particularly influential who follows you in the industry (this could be another blogger, who is well known, for example), number of RT’s and engagements with your own unique content
Once the bloggy housekeeping is done you’re ready to make the call.
I say call, rather than e-mail as, although we live in a digital age (PR’s more than most), making a real life connection still has much more impact than an e-mail. Apart from the fact that your e-mail will probably get lost in a sea of other e-mails that the PR will receive every day. (the same is true of the media)
Before you call;
- Do your research. Google is a great resource and can tell you pretty much all you need to know about who does the PR for a brand
- Write a script. It’s quite scary calling someone you don’t know and ‘pitching’ yourself to them. I find a mini script with all the key points I want to make really helps me stay cool and calm
- Write an e-mail to the PR. Nine times out of ten, the person you speak to will ask you to send them an e-mail. Make sure you have this ready to go as soon as you put the phone down. You don’t want to be forgotten!
On the call;
- Smile! It really helps your tone of voice and makes you feel more confident
- If you don’t know who to speak to ask for the Account Manager of XYZ brand (if the company works with a PR agency) or ask for the PR Manager if XYZ brand is based in-house (i.e. they work within said company)
- Have a pen and paper handy. The person on the other end will be able to tell you who to e-mail or call if they aren’t the right person
After the call:
- Follow up straight away with an e-mail
- Try and find the person on social media and follow them. Tweet them a quick ‘hi, nice to talk to you’ message
- If you don’t hear back, try following up a few days later with another call.
If there’s anything you’d like to know about PR, writing or social media copy and content, drop me a line via the comments and I’ll write a post on it.