The world of public relations is a fast-paced, multidimensional career. Now, more than ever, businesses, brands, and influencers need a boost to get their name out there and tell the world why they stand out from the crowd.
An experienced publicist can assess your PR needs and arrive at a plan of action that puts you or your brand in a winning position. Senior Publicist at Otter Public Relations and founder of At Large PR, Brittany Bearden, has a wealth of knowledge in this field. Below she offers five ‘best practices’ she relies on to meet her clients’ diverse PR needs.
1. Press release or pitch or both?
Bearden explains that a press release sent to a publisher is essentially asking a favor. “To me, there’s an implied favor in a press release that says ‘please write about me,’ so I always include a pitch letter offering something before a press release and just provide the press release for additional details.” Bearden says this process has much more success overall than a press release alone. The pitch letter not only entices the outlet, it has a more personal feel. And, in the end, the outlet receives something for their consideration.
2. Be completely transparent
Sending out multiple pitch letters and press releases can be a bit mundane; however, the effort generally pays off. But, Bearden says she always tries to be crystal clear in the subject line of the e-mail, giving as many specific details as possible with no false promises. “I don’t want to trick anyone into opening an email because if this happens, they aren’t going to be happy,” says Bearden. “If I’m offering review samples, guest pieces, or interviews, I make sure to mention that in the subject line.”
3. Know your client
Matching media outlets to clients’ needs can sometimes be tricky. With the vast options available, the publicist’s job is to work with the client and develop a plan that includes the most appropriate outlets for their message. Bearden adds, “I generally identify what categories a client fits in and pitch those verticals.” However, Bearden admits this type of generalizing can be tricky. “It’s pretty obvious that a psychotherapist would get pitched to reporters who cover self-help and mental health, but it sometimes depends on the story or the topic of the pitch,” adds Bearden. She explains that you wouldn’t typically think of a psychotherapist as someone seeking political media, but if that psychotherapist’s agenda is to reconcile grief in their city, politics becomes relevant. A publicist must consider all of these details when creating a specific media campaign for a client.
4. Knowing when it’s time for PR
A company launch or revitalization campaign is a crucial time that can use some professional assistance from a PR firm. Bearden recommends, “The best time to seek PR is when you launch your company, but you can seek PR at any point in time.” And Bearden adds that the media exposure a publicist can provide gives credibility. “Media tells clients and customers that what you have to offer has been vetted, and this makes them more inclined to buy or follow, boosting sales and popularity,” says Bearden. It’s true—many of us find out about new products, people, books, etc., from our favorite TV shows, magazines, and bloggers.
5. Get your story out there
Some brands don’t feel they need PR; however, Bearden professes every brand or business can benefit from the exposure PR provides. Bearden says some clients come to her and have stories that won’t get great coverage, but they can benefit from at least getting their story out on the newswire. “This is where the power of Google comes in,” says Bearden. “They’ll become more google-able and build backlinks to their website, which is always a positive.” Bearden also explains that sometimes it can be hard to stand out when someone is in a field where there is a lot of competition, but this is precisely why they need PR. Bearden adds, “For example, I’ve helped an accountant get great media by pitching interviews and guest pieces about PPP forgiveness. It all comes down to the story,” says Bearden.
If you have ever wondered if PR is right for you or your business, the answer is probably ‘yes.’ At the very least, a publicist can work at getting your story out there with media exposure you don’t have access to without an expert. To make 2021 your best year ever, hire a PR firm to promote your best assets and show the world what you have to offer.