Public relations

Want to make the most of your PR team? Here’s 5 ways to maximise your investment

- August 15, 2022 4 MIN READ
Wooden block letters: P and R

Your startup or small business has invested in public relations (PR) for the first time and wants to get media coverage for your company. Engaging a PR partner is just the first step. Successful PR is not like a wind-up toy that you crank up and release; PR is a partnership, write Kathryn Van Kuyk and Anthony Caruana, co-founders of Media-Wize.

For media engagement to work most effectively and not increase risk or potential damage to your reputation, you need to engage, invest and work closely with an expert PR team to present your brand and company in the most favourable light at all times.

Try these five things to maximise the return on your PR investment

Public relations diagram explainer

Engage regularly with your PR team

For a PR campaign to succeed, it not only takes an investment of money, it requires your time. This includes responding promptly to your PR team when they are in the field liaising with journalists, and being ready at short notice as a spokesperson to talk to the media.

Too often, startups and small businesses make the mistake of thinking that PR can function in a vacuum. It can’t. You are the expert on your business. Your team is responsible for sharing insights and information with your PR team and responsible for promptly checking and approving content that is developed for you. This is your brand being presented to the media. You are the subject matter experts and you need to be invested in the process.

Don’t leave journalists waiting 

Once you start the ball rolling on media engagement, it is no longer your timeframe; the media will set and direct the timeframe. The days of journalists working on ten stories a month are long gone; they are publishing fresh content almost hourly. The time pressures are intense and they don’t have time to wait days to speak to you or get an answer to a question.

If you want to succeed in working with the media and maximising every opportunity for coverage, you must be responsive. That means knowing when a media release or media pitch is being dispatched, and making sure you have time available in your diary to talk to journalists if they request it.

Every interaction with the media is about building reputation

It is critical in the battle to protect brand and reputation that your business understands that every interaction with the media is an opportunity to present your company and culture in the best light.

A common pitfall is ranking media outlets that you care about and being flippant or ignoring publications that you consider of lesser importance. Journalists shift jobs frequently; the reporter who wants to talk to you today from a trade publication or local newspaper may be at a major daily newspaper tomorrow. If you treat them with disdain or are slow to respond, they will remember that feeling and won’t be keen to work with you again.

It is important that you are organised and have all your assets, including images, ready. Make sure you’ve anticipated the questions they might ask and have practised your responses out loud.

Two men sitting in front of camera for media interview

Grab the opportunity to build a relationship with journalists  

Every interaction your company has with a journalist and a media outlet is a chance to build a relationship for the future. If you decide to buy sponsored content with a media outlet and begin liaising with a journalist that also writes news and stories on merit, then you want to use this opportunity to excite them about your company and ensure your team is hyper-responsive and easy to deal with. If they ask for an interview via phone or Zoom, respond quickly to lock it in.

Once you do confirm, don’t bump the meeting in preference for something else pressing that has popped up last minute in the business. Be intentional with building media relationships and think about all the optics the journalist is getting about your organisation.

And never forget journalists are people – they also buy goods and services. As much as they might report on you, they might also have the capacity to become a customer or an advocate if they get excited about your mission, purpose and products.

Spokespeople need an internal support team

Often in startups and small businesses the founder is the spokesperson and the one most invested in media relations. But, they need support. If your small business is investing in PR then it is a good sign that the time is right to also invest in a marketing team.

A good marketing manager can liaise with the PR agency, to relieve the bottleneck on the CEO from having to respond to every query and approve every piece of content. They can ensure a coordinated marketing, advertising, digital and social media strategy works in tandem to boost the PR results.

Some startups and small businesses give the job of liaising with the PR agency and the media to an Executive Assistant. If you’re going to do this, then make sure you invest in training your EA to understand how the media works and how to prioritise this activity.

The best approach is to hire experts with experience that can guide you best and know how to enhance brand, mitigate risk and build reputation.


This article originally appeared on Kochie’s Business Builders, read the original here.

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How do you know if your PR campaign is working? 4 ways to measure PR success

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