Understanding the power of public relations and how to use strategic PR principles to empower yourself and grow a successful enterprise is crucial for entrepreneurs, small-business owners and individuals with “side hustles.” If you have the extra $3,000 to $5,000 a month to retain a publicist, you can get yourself on the fast track to taking your company to the next level. At my “As Powerful as You Want to Be!” PR boot camp, however, I teach 10 simple steps that can be put to use right away and on a limited budget. It never hurts to know how to do it yourself.
There is an important difference between public relations and publicity. Public relations is a long-term campaign to foster public goodwill and create a favorable opinion for a product, person or entity. Publicity, meanwhile, is the vehicle that brings attention to the product, person or entity. To launch a public relations campaign you must first have a plan. Be passionate, creative and strategic in your plan. Ask yourself a few key questions: Where do you see the reach of your business—local, regional, national, global or virtual? What type of clients do you want to attract? Start believing in your hype. Know that your story is unique and, most important, talk yourself up to others like an A-list celebrity.
Here are 10 steps you can use to create awareness of and grow your business right now:
Define your mission. What is your company about? What are your objectives? Who is your target audience?
Be a student of the media. Learn how the media works. For instance, be aware of who your desired outlet serves, what their deadlines are, when they publish or broadcast, as well as their current trend for stories. Ask yourself what makes your story different. Not all media outlets are appropriate for every type of business.
Be prepared for the opportunity. Create a media kit that consists of a press release announcing your company or product; a one- to two-page biography—your life story with the most interesting information; a headshot for publication and broadcast; and a professional business card with your Web site.
Think linearly. Act with a plan. Identify what you want to promote, the audience you want to reach, the tools you’ll need (press release, etc.) and media vehicles through which to accomplish your goal.
Promote yourself. Brand yourself. Remember, you are an authority in your field, so begin to visualize and execute your plan via public speaking engagements at schools, colleges, organizations, etc. Write an editorial or Op-Ed column, appear as a guest on local TV, public access and/or talk radio. Network and work your magic every time.
Polish your image. Are you sending the right message about yourself—the way you wish to be perceived? How do you want to be perceived? Ask your friends and family what impression they have of you.
Secure a committed mentor. Make certain that the mentor you choose has time to be a mentor. Be clear about expectations and time and make the relationship a two-way street. What do you have to offer your mentor? Be sure to give back to someone else who also may be in need of a mentor.
Create key relationships. Identify individuals who share common interests but may have different skills. Be a good friend and stand by your word.
Empower your life. Give back. A great deal of business is done while volunteering. Volunteering can give you a legitimate aura of leadership, dedication and commitment. Expand your base of key contacts. Become a board member and create a positive perception of who you are.
Honor your process. Believe your hype. Remember, you are the best person for the job and you are entitled to success. Public relations is about knowing your worth and not underselling yourself to secure and/or maintain business.
The time to position yourself for an opportunity is now. Editors, TV bookers, publishers and online outlets are looking for original, inspiring and creative stories, so get started and be your own publicist.
Karen Taylor Bass offers a PR Boot Camp in several cities. Visit www.taylormademediapr.com.