Business Essentials

Supercharge your PR in 2020 and beyond

Supercharge your PR in 2020 and beyond

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Good PR is essential to building a brand; getting your message and product out there is key to creating awareness, sales and, ultimately, brand loyalty. In the latest webinar in the everywomanEntrepreneur seriesjournalist and JournoLink co-founder Tetteh Kofi, breaks down the process - looking at the elements, mindset and strategy you need to supercharge your PR in 2020. 


The dictionary definition of PR is a ‘strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organisations and their publics’, and for Tetteh the crucial word is strategic’: That means you don't say, I think I’ll do some PR today”. It means it's a plan. And the reason it's got to be planned is the difference between PR and advertising – PR is earned coverage. You don't earn anything by just rocking up and doing it. You earn something by providing for and provoking insightful content. 


Relationships are key, connecting with different audiences, but ultimately PR is about storytelling. When you’re building relationships, everything is about storytelling; your relationship, your job, your partner, your business, your customers. And his message to entrepreneurs looking to up their PR game, but are unsure of their ability, is clear: ‘Don’t for a moment think that you can't tell a story. Everybody can tell a story and everybody can engage somebody in a conversation. If you couldn't you wouldn't be able to run a business.  


Know your audiences 

To tell that story though you have to know who you are telling it to. ‘Every brand has at least four audiencesthe people who work for you, the people who are associated with you, your investors and your wider social community audience. And each has its own profile of beliefs, attitudes and behaviours,’ says Tetteh. ‘To make relationships with your environment in a way that earns you coverage, you need to message all of these audiences in an appropriate way and through the channels on which they want to connect with you – that’s how you build brand awareness. 


The PR message 

All news falls into one of three categories, says Tetteh, the first being just news’  something that is timely, delivered mostly by press releases and which has an absolutely ‘can’t refuse’ headline. News is something in response to something emerging in your environment, sector of business, arena of operations or community that you need to engage with. You can't usually predict news: news happens while you're getting on with what daily life brings up. For example, George Floyd being killed and the recent demonstrations in 50 countries called for many corporations, particularly in America, to take a position on this matter. So that's a news story. With news, you have to think what your position is and how are you going to engage with that?  


The second kind of news is features. Features are triggered by things like anniversaries and milestones and each industry or product type will have these. Emerging trends as well as insights and case studies also make fantastic features; an exploration of a particular set of events around a company or product that enables us to learn something significant.’  


When you're talking about features though, you're talking about ways in which you can demonstrate insight into something that other people don't have. I'm a journalist so I know a little bit about almost everything in the world. But I can never write a story on anything without connecting with a subject matter expert. In business journalism, that would be the entrepreneurs, the founders, the customers, the employees, the people who actually make it happen. Never think that your business doesn't have news in it. It's got so much news, but you have to have the eyes to see it.  


Finally, there is product placement, which Tetteh stresses is not a sales approach, rather it is primarily about product storytelling. There's nothing more compelling than a ‘how do they do that?’ story. It can be fascinating to know how the product came about, to hear about the damp squibs in research and development, how things fell apart, how the company nearly went bust, and how it finally came together – these kinds of things can be a gripping read.  


Which channel? 

Knowing what kind of story you are putting out and the most effective channel for it is half the battle in good PR. And there are plenty to choose from. Mainstream media (MSM), whether print or online, is great for news and feature-type stories, while specialist media of any kind is terrific for news, feature stories and product placement, says TettehDigital influencers – broadly described as people with high social media followings who review and test products – can also be excellent content creators, with the ability to catapult your brand awareness with one post. Podcasts are good for feature stories, while blogs are great for product placement and feature stories. Social media and websites work for all three – great for news, because you can put things out quickly, features where you can go slightly more in depth and also link back to your website or your blog and product launches as you can get your product out there straight away. 


The press release 

But although you might be keen to tell the world everything about your product or business, don’t ‘overegg’ the press release pudding when approaching a journalist or bloggerKeep it short, recommends TettehAs a journalist, I look at 16 press releases a day. Put yourself in my shoes; if you're giving me an 800-word press release you’d better be able to write like Shelley or Byron. It's hard to keep a person’s attention with that many words. Personally, I think 400 words is far better. He also recommends keeping the headline sharp and snappy, and inside 80 characters, including spaces, commas and asterisks. And when you’re ready to send, be strategic about timing – both in the day and in the news cycle. On any given day, sending your press release out between 8-9.30am gives it the best chance of being seen, as it will be in the journalist’s inbox when they open it. However, don't delay if it's a breaking story, says TettehSend it now. I mean, immediately. 


Five-point PR checklist 



  • A date that you're going to put out the story 
  • An idea of what the story is – with your key messages 
  • Which brand element you're going for – community, investor, customer or employee. 
  • Your audience (And when you talk about the audience you're talking about the key pinch points in those people's lives – if they’re interested in finance or utility or price…you put that in there, says Tetteh.)  
  • The media outlet you're targeting and the frequency of the story type. The channelling of your messages has to be one trusted by the audience that you're aiming for. 


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