Spring – the season for new beginnings, for warmer weather, for longer days and for many people, the dreaded yearly tradition of spring-cleaning. While most take this time to clean out their gutters, dust off their homes and de-clutter their offices, for us in the PR world, spring signals the opportunity to do a little bit of our own cleaning. So here are some tips to help you dust off and put some spring back into your PR strategy:
- Analyse your current strategy: Begin your cleanse by evaluating your current communications efforts in the context of wider business objectives. What has worked well, and what hasn’t worked as well as you hoped? Do you have a coherent message? Have you built relationships with the right journalists and influencers? Are your tactics leading to tangible results? Getting a grip on your current situation will make it easier for you to identify what works and what doesn’t.
- Review your key messages: Key messages are the core messages you want your target audience to hear and remember. They are used in all of your communication such as your website, in media releases, during interviews and any other times you describe your business. Therefore, it’s important that they communicate the right message. Brainstorm the key points you want to share with your target audience, and make any necessary changes to your current messages so that these points are conveyed.
- Evaluate your media coverage: A great way to measure the effectiveness of your media outreach is to look at the media coverage you’ve gained over the past year and determine whether you are reaching your target audience through these publications. Counting the average number of media coverage pieces you earn a month can also help. Are there any factors that have limited this? Are your pitches newsworthy? Are you reaching out to the correct journalists and publications? Are you following up on your media releases? Are you ensuring that your spokesperson is available? Answering these questions can help you alter your strategy to maximise results.
- Test-drive a new pitching style. There’s nothing worse than getting stuck in a rut when it comes to media relations. If your current pitch process just isn’t hitting the right notes, it’s time to mix things up. Examine your current routine and ask, how do you come up with your angles and ideas? What outlets are you always targeting? Where are you finding journalists? Do you always pitch to the same publications? Gather a team together to help generate new ideas and media outlets based on your business’ direction. Do some research into other media publications your target audience reads/watches/listens to and start pitching to them. Sometimes breaking the routine is exactly what you need to refresh your strategy and realise new potential.
- Update your media lists: There’s nothing worse than following up on a media release or pitching to publications only to find that the journalist you’re looking to speak to no longer works there. We’ve found that with the current media landscape, journalists can move from outlet to outlet or from position to position quite frequently. For this reason, it’s important to make sure your media lists are up-to-date.
- Build and refresh your relationships: Following on from the previous point, it is also beneficial to look for members of the media who have made career changes, whether they’ve changed their outlet or beat, gone on leave or have switched to freelance journalism. Using social media, in particular LinkedIn and Twitter, you can do a quick scan to see what they’re up to and can reconnect or introduce yourself. Look at the media you’ve pitched in the past and check in with those who have been responsive and helpful.
After spring-cleaning your PR strategy, you will have a better understanding of where you are, and where you want to be. So before you grab a vacuum, go grab a pen and review your PR strategy to help your business make the most of its PR activities.