PR is a fun field because we come into contact with so many different businesses with all kinds of goals. Every business is different, and one highly successful marketing strategy for one company may not necessarily work for another. Every business should have their own unique plan for how to get their message to the public. This is where creative, thinking outside the box, PR can help you tremendously!
Every industry has a unique target audience, and unique people that would love to help you share your story if you’d only ask. Creativity really comes into play when thinking about who you will reach out to. PR people don’t sit at their desks all day sending out press releases to mass media lists. The fact is, if you send out a mass press release to a bunch of random media sources, you will not be successful. The trick to good PR is being targeted.
Before a press release is even written, time must be spent figuring out who would be interested in hearing about what you have to say. During the brainstorming process, you should determine several different avenues for getting your message out. When reaching out to people with your story, the possibilities are endless! This is where your creativity really comes in! Your list should have a good mix of “safe,” traditional media and “reach” contacts you maybe have never reached out to but would be great contacts to add to your network. Make sure, however, that everyone on your list would be interested in what you have to say and would potentially want to share your story.
Here are some of our favorite contacts to reach out to:
Traditional Media: Traditional media includes radio, TV, newspapers, and basically any other news source that comes to mind when you think “media.” Traditional media has proven reliable time after time, so it’s always a good idea to start with them.
Social Media: Having a social media strategy is critical in PR. Every social media campaign will be a little bit different, but it’s important to identify how you will use the social media sites that you are active on to communicate information about your business. Social media is a great way to communicate your message directly with the public, without having to go through a reporter from a traditional media source.
Blogs: Many popular blog writers out there would love to share your story on their blog, especially if you work in an industry like the pet industry. Dedicate time to creating a list of bloggers who write about your industry, and don’t hesitate to reach out to them.
Local Businesses: Local businesses love to show the public that they are helping their communities – and they especially love to help non-profits. We’ve often received support from local businesses in the form of product donations and sponsorships for conferences.
Celebrities: Actors, actresses, comedians, and other famous people also love to support causes that impact the community. We’ve reached out to these people to help us with PSAs or to invite them to events. We recently enlisted the help of a famous cartoonist, Guy Gilchrest, to help us support service dogs in Nashville. Having a celebrity on board with your story can really be impactful in showing the public why they’d be interested in it too!
Professional sports teams: Pro athletes love to appear at community events – don’t be shy in inviting them to come out. Most all sports teams have specific procedures set up for you to contact them specifically about events – they really do try to make it out to as many community events as possible.
Viral internet sensations: It’s always important to keep up keep up with who’s who in the internet world, even if you’re not a social media expert. Viral YouTube stars and trending twitter and facebook obsessions can be great resources if you can get them to endorse a product or cause your business is fighting for. For one project, we spent time reaching out to famous social media dogs with a lot of followers and asked them to support rescue dogs by wearing one of our clients’ products!
Average customers: When reaching out with your story, don’t forget your loyal average customers! We love asking followers to write testimonials and give feedback about a company’s product or services. It’s great to hear and share words from passionate supporters!
Not only should you be creative in who you reach out to, be creative in the way you reach out to them. Once you have your list of targets for your story, don’t resort to the mass email. Emails are great, but remember that there are other ways to reach out! A well-made YouTube video inviting a celebrity to your event can grab the attention of the public and can cause the public to jump on board in supporting your invitation. When you have the public on your side, how can your invitation be refused?! All types of social media can be great ways to reach out with your story. Social media is meant for sharing – so take advantage of it!
As I said before, the possibilities are endless in the types of people you can enlist to help you share your story. Don’t limit yourself to sending out mass press releases – be creative and targeted, and you will begin to see results! Good luck!
Have any other favorite contacts or want more ideas about who to contact about your specific story? Tweet us @PawsPR