If you’ve never been in the press, securing media coverage or garnering attention for your business is not usually an instant thing. But publicity IS accessible to everyone and consistent efforts WILL reap rewards.
While it can happen very quickly for some (especially if you are able to tie in with breaking news), for others it may take weeks or even months to see results. This depends on factors such as how simple your story is to communicate, and how consistently you reach out to the media.
Recently I interviewed Justin Herald about his use of PR and publicity to build his Attitude Clothing range, which he started with just $50 in working capital, grew into a business selling more than $7000 worth of t-shirts each week at Parklea Markets, and ultimately developed into a multi-million dollar enterprise.
One of the secrets behind Justin’s success was that he built momentum – and millions of dollars – through free publicity.
Although he didn’t know it at the time, Justin had a great media hook: he was an oddity. In theory his business acumen was zero, and yet he’d built a thriving clothing brand. He challenged every business stereotype, but weekly sales were booming. His oddity made him newsworthy, and that made Alan Jones want to chat to him on Sydney radio station 2UE.
Justin then discovered one of the biggest benefits of publicity. Journalists often discover their next news story by paying attention to what’s making news elsewhere, so it’s no surprise that shortly after the 2UE interview, Justin was asked to appear on A Current Affair, putting his grass-roots clothing brand in front of millions of people.
The very next morning, he received hundreds of calls from retailers wanting to stock his products.
What he’d achieved was a beautiful example of PR momentum and publicity leverage. That radio interview took him from talking to a few people at a time to a sweet television appearance that catapulted his brand into the spotlight and into the awareness of millions of potential customers. And the sweetest aspect of all was it cost him nothing but his time.
Following these four publicity tips could help you build similar momentum behind your own PR efforts.
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Like growing your business in general, a successful PR campaign needs time and energy dedicated to it.
That means continually developing new pitch angles to spark the interest of the media, and regularly following up with the news organisations that you’d like publicity from.
Don’t try to build Rome in a day
There’s a wide universe of media out there and the thought of attempting to reach them all can feel overwhelming. Try starting in your local market, because you already have built-in news value by being a local business or expert.
Or focus on one specific media genre, such as the business press or the trade publications read by your industry. “Working” one area of media like this can give you the confidence and success to spark momentum.
Set clear goals – on paper
Write down your public relations goals and three things you can do to achieve each of them. Take at least one action step a day that gets you closer to achieving a goal.
The mere process of taking that action creates momentum that will build upon itself.
Build time for PR into your schedule
Find at least an hour a week to focus on your PR efforts, even if you can only manage to block out 15 minutes at a time. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that if you don’t have much time you don’t have enough time. In a quarter of an hour, you could email a pitch to five journalists, place three follow-up calls, or research a new media outlet to see whether it might be a PR opportunity for you.
Finally, here’s Justin Herald’s advice for soloists looking to escalate their publicity results, media relationships and PR momentum:
Read the newspaper, watch current affairs and listen to talk back radio every day. Then you’re across what’s trending and what’s not, and are able to quickly phone up and offer your opinion.
If you’ve had a similar PR experience to Justin’s, we’d love to hear your publicity tips. You never know, telling us your story here might be the push your publicity snowball needs!