By Louise Findlay-Wilson, Creator Of PrPro And Owner Of Energy PR
I don’t know about you, but every Wednesday I tune in to the Apprentice. It’s almost unbearable to watch the collection of mostly overblown egos talking about the ‘110% they’re giving to the task’. Without fail they make some momentous mistakes, say some crass things, back-stab each other and give Karen, Nick and of course Lord Sugar plenty to tut and smirk at.
While there’s little in the form of entrepreneurship to gain from watching the programme, there are some serious PR lessons that we can take away from it. Teams, week in week out, come in for the most flak when they fail to:
- Commit to the task wholeheartedly
- Understand what makes the prospective customer tick
- Understand how to reach them
- Explore all the angles
- Draw on the strengths of their specialists in the team
- Pitch the idea clearly
- Think of all the possible objections or questions and prepare for them
- Use common sense
- Be persistent
This list is almost identical to one I would give to anyone thinking about doing PR – and specifically thinking of pitching their news to the media. Let’s look at the list again to see what I mean...
Commit to the task wholeheartedly
Don’t dabble when it comes to PR, it’s all about planned and sustained effort. If you only put out news now and then you will never shift hearts and minds.
Understand what makes the prospective customer tick
If you understand the audience you will be much better at coming up with news and feature material that will interest them.
Understand how to reach them
For the Apprentice, reaching the audience often means being in the right location with good footfall, while in media terms that means being in/on the media that the audience reads, watches or listens to.
Explore all the angles
There is a mass of news sitting in your business, if you just know how to unlock it.
Draw on the strengths of their specialists in the team
Your business experts could be a fantastic source of media material, points of view, expert downloads, feature material...use them.
Pitch the idea clearly
When pitching your news you need to have the story very clearly in your head, and be able to convey the essence of it in 30 seconds...no waffle, no lengthy preamble about your business...get to the point.
Think of all the possible objections or questions and prepare for them
What questions might the journalist you’re pitching to ask? Have the answers ready. If they’re going to ask for photos, or extra comments or data, be prepared. Have your key spokespeople prepared (make sure they’re not on holiday) have the photos to hand to email immediately etc.
Use common sense
PR is often rooted in common sense... for instance don’t call journalists when they’re on deadline, if you want to be in a media target get familiar with it first to see where you or your company might fit, if you’re given a deadline meet it, don’t promise a story as an exclusive and then break the deal...I could go on but you get the gist.
If your news doesn’t grab the media that just means the specific story didn’t work. Perhaps your angle wasn’t strong enough, or you hadn’t put the news release together well. It doesn’t mean that PR isn’t going to work for your business. Every business is suited to PR... You just need to learn, improve and persist.
As this list shows, a lot of PR isn’t rocket science, but it does require a few basic skills, a heap of common sense and commitment. That’s why successful entrepreneurs are often instinctively good at PR.
Join us on