If you want to find more time to promote your business in 2018, you need to work smarter - not harder. Here’s five PR strategies that will help you do more in less time.
Getting press coverage is all about timing. So when you suggest an idea to a journalist, the first question they will ask themselves is ‘why do people need to hear about this now?’ (or next week/month, depending on how far they work ahead). This is often referred to as the ‘hook’ or ‘peg’ for a story.
But most publications and programmes work much further ahead than you might imagine (monthly magazines typically work at least 3-6 months ahead, for example). That’s why why devoting a morning or afternoon to mapping out the key dates, awareness and anniversaries that are relevant to your industry or area of expertise - across the entire year - can be a smart move.
The bonus? You’ll also come up with tons of ideas for your own blog/podcast/vlog and social media platforms.
A little forward planning helped inspire this article on why we need to talk more about miscarriage in the Guardian, Jacqueline Hooton’s opinion article in the Independent on why you shouldn’t share your back-to-school photos and this Huffington Post article on five reasons to give Dry January a go from Kate Beavis.
If you’d like some help with your planning, you can download my FREE 2018 media calendar here.
Follow the news
If a big news story breaks that relates to your area of expertise, contacting the media to offer comment - or write a follow-up article - can be a smart move. That’s exactly what personal trainer and fitness model Jacqueline Hooton did when she heard the model Bella Hadid being criticised for being too thin, after landing a big contract with Nike. It resulted in this article for the Independent on why we should stop demonising thin women.
Remember that breaking news doesn’t always have to be controversial. If you’re a relationship expert, you might offer comment on a celebrity wedding (or a divorce/break up). If you’re a stylist, you might offer comment on an unusual outfit on the catwalk or red carpet. If you’re a social media consultant, you might offer comment on the latest online craze. If people are talking about it, journalists will be looking for people like you to talk to.
Do bear in mind, however, that things quickly become ‘old news’. If a story comes along you can respond to, you can’t afford to wait until you’ve dropped your kids at school, written that blog post or cleared down your emails - you need to act fast. Here’s how to write an email pitch for a journalist.
Setting up Google alerts for subjects you know you can talk about in the media is a good idea. It’s also worth keeping an eye out on social media for breaking news (Twitter is great for this).
Aim to repurpose every piece of content you create. Instagram updates can be turned into tweets or posted on your Facebook page. Vlogs and podcasts can be transcribed and turned into blog posts. Story ideas you pitch to newspapers and magazines can be adapted for your blog or for guest posts on sites like the Huffington Post (find out how to become a Huffington Post blogger, here). For example, I’ve taken the theme of working for free and turned it into content for the Guardian, Entrepreneur and my podcast.
Scheduling your content, across the year (or at least up to three months ahead) will allow you to space out your content, so your followers don’t find it repetitive.
The algorithm for social media sites like Facebook and Instagram rewards engagement, so the more comments and shares you get, the more people will be shown your content. But this can be hard - particularly when you’re just getting started on a new platform. Forming groups with other business owners who are also looking to grow their social media engagement (sometimes known as ‘pods’) and commenting on and sharing each others’ content - can be a great way to accelerate the process. I’ve created a number of growth ‘pods’ for members of my Soulful PR Studio - which has allowed some members to 10x their social media engagement. Committing just 15 minutes a day to being part of a pod can save you hours in the long run.
When you’re busy helping your customers or clients, PR can often end up at the bottom of your to-do list. But if you’re not taking daily action to promote your business, when you get to the end a busy period, you may find business is slow. Making PR part of your daily routine - as little as 15-20 minutes a day - will ensure you have a constant stream of leads and clients.
Most experts agree that it takes at least 30 days to form a new habit, so commit to one daily PR activity today - one that takes just 15-20 minutes - and in a month’s time you’ll have invested a day in your PR. Just think of the impact this could have on your business.
You could commit to being part of a social media growth pod, monitoring the news every morning or planning out your content for the coming week/month.
I encourage my clients to commit to a #dailypitch - where they suggest an idea to a journalist, pitch themselves to be a guest on a podcast or put themselves forward to speak at an event - every single day. If you did that every single working day of the year (252 days), just think how many pieces of guest content - and more importantly - links back to your site you could create in a year. Find out more about pitching guest content here.
Want to save even more time with your PR? You can still grab one of my fab media diaries, which lists around 1000 key dates, awareness day and anniversaries and will save you tons of time on your planning. You’ll also get a monthly newsletter with updates on new books, films, TV programmes and other key developments you can use in your media planning.
Order your copy here.