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Essential guide to PR for businesses

Everybody loves to buy into a business that’s getting noticed, so you need publicity! Armed with your marketing materials – think brochures, flyers, posters, gift wrapping, boxes and everything else you need - Here’s how you can do it.

1. Issue a press release

This is key to your campaign as it tells people all about you. A press release is a concise news story that will communicate information about you and your brand to all platforms in the media. It needs to be interesting, and instantly capture the attention. You also need to hook the release on something new. This could be a product launch, or maybe you want to link it with a current news story. Perhaps you’ve produced teddy bears in the colours of the Ukraine flag or created a range of gender-neutral beauty products.

2. Supply images

Great images are key to getting publicity. People want to SEE your product. Ideally, you need quality product images as well as brilliant lifestyle images – i.e. ones using models and idyllic settings to show off your products. If you can afford to create a room set featuring your pottery range or do a campaign featuring images of models in your bridal veils then go for it.

Beautiful lifestyle images are more likely to reproduce in a bigger format in magazines and newspapers than product imagery, therefore grabbing even more attention. It’s also a good idea to have photography of yourself. One a portrait and another of you in action working on your designs. We can’t stress enough that they need to be professionally done. No pictures are better than bad pictures. They also need to be available in high res so they are suitable for print. You can then send out your press release and include one or two images that can be used in gift guides, shopping spreads etc.

3. Know who you are targeting

This is all about making sure that the publications and bloggers who you are issuing press releases to are the right people. Just sending the same press release out to everyone isn’t just wasting your time, it makes you look unprofessional.

4. Tell a story

Everyone loves a good story so get yours out there. Perhaps your coffee bean product was discovered while you were trekking in Peru, or your jewellery was inspired by your love of the sea or maybe you have a good backstory – for example, “I gave up a six-figure salary to make hats” then tell people about it! Write your story and send it out to press, preferably with samples (see below) and gorgeous printed business cards.

5. Send samples

The press and bloggers love being gifted samples and you should be generous when sending them out. You want them to love your product, so they need to experience it in person. Don’t forget to say that you hope they’ll feature you in some way.

6. Support the community

Getting involved with a local event in support of a good cause will help you gain publicity within your community and give your company a positive feelgood vibe. For example, if it’s a food show and you make something cooking related you could sponsor a chef demo.

7. Offer prizes

Competitions in newspapers and local radio are another excellent way to get some positive publicity for your small business. For example, if you make bridal headbands why not offer one as a prize in a bridal mag?

8. Share the results

Once a publication features your company then share the heck out of it. Ideally flag it up before it happens then share the cuttings, podcast or whatever platform it appears on with all your followers.

9. Gift a celeb

Celebrity sells so if you can get the support of a famous person then you can expect to boost sales. This isn’t easy but it’s always worth a shot. You need to make sure that the celebrity is a match for your product or have a reason for sending it to that person. A TV action hero might not be the obvious choice for a frilly apron for example - there again, it would make great publicity if he actually wore one!

10. Hire a professional PR company

PR isn’t just something you do once every few months, you really do need to keep it going, constantly generating ideas, making press contacts, sending out product, cultivating bloggers and ensuring that your product doesn’t get any bad publicity. A PR company might cost you money, but it will probably generate money for you in the long run and be there to advise you on every step of your exciting journey.

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