DIY PR CHALLENGE

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Congratulations legend, just by signing up for this challenge you have effectively saved yourself $60,000.

By signing up to the #DIYPRChallenge you are saving $5k per month in agency fees. If you take these skills and implement them into your weekly or monthly schedule, I can guarantee you will see kickarse headline news results for your business within three months. Yep, you will quickly become a household name.

But it won’t happen without some serious hours behind the wheel.

So, are you ready to transform your business?

Welcome to the one week DIY PR Challenge.

If you haven’t already done it, jump over to your calendar right now and stick one hour every day into your dairy so that you can knuckle down and build out your PR strategy after each lesson.

Your success will be directly correlated to how much energy you put into your research, planning, and then, into pitching.

If you want to ask a question or connect with other people doing this challenge, jump over to our Instagram and find the #DIYPRChallenge post.

 
 
How to DIY your PR

There are 5 main reasons why editors, producers and journalists don’t give a f*ck about your ‘news.’

One of the biggest ones? Well… there just aren’t enough humans manning the desks. The industry is and has been tightening for over a decade.

 “In the previous 18-months alone, the Sydney Morning Herald has fired a quarter of its newsroom, Fairfax closed six local mastheads, News Australia made 100 people redundant, Seven ousted 150 people from its Melbourne Broadcast Centre, and Pacific dispensed with most of its sub-editors.”—Mumbrella, August 2018

Social media has stolen advertising budgets, which has resulted in decreased staff with inboxes are overflowing with invites, pitches, and media releases.

Changes to the landscape are absolutely fabulous on one hand because now we have so many emerging platforms and mediums, with some very niche and focused communications streams where we can tune into information that we want and tune out the noise. But the fallout is that the media landscape has become quite fragmented. As the advertising spend shifts away from print and magazines, many major titles have closed and lost market share and staff numbers have declined.

In short, the industry is doing it tough: The deadlines are real. Journos have serious egos (more on that later). And also, quite likely, your pitch kinda sucks.

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Your media pitch sucks

SO, WHY SHOULD WE AS SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS CARE ABOUT THE MEDIA?

Ironically, for several years there have been headlines that proclaim ‘the media is dead,’ and yet… it lives on. So why should small businesses care about PR and media?

 “Advertising is saying you’re good. PR is getting someone else to say you’re good.”
— Jean-Louis Gassée.

Sure, social media is a great way to chat with your 6% organic reach, and your website and email marketing is essential to tell people exactly what you do (and sell all the things), PR is one of the most powerful ways to build trust.

Despite the erosion of media mastheads and circulation numbers, the trust that we as consumers invest in well-known entities like ABC, Channel 7, or Brisbane Times is still extremely high.

These pieces of coverage will serve you long into the future, way beyond the initial exposure in an article! Ever seen on the footer of website or an email signature ‘as seen in’? These serve as important proof points. Also, if you appear in digital features, you’re going to score a bunch of Google link juice from any backlinks which will serve to boost your search performance.

Appearing in Australian and international digital publications, newspapers, podcasts, or on TV exponentially builds trust and credibility.

PR does this by leveraging the equity of the outlet that you are seen in. And trust me when I say how quickly I have seen media coverage transform businesses.

Good media coverage amplifies your voice and your platform.

PR is powerful, similar in strength to the recommendation of a good friend – we implicitly trust a friend who recommends that you try a new coconut yoghurt brand, a new restaurant, or accounting software.

Similarly, we trust media outlets.

PR is about building influence. And it’s about sharing your knowledge and expertise. It’s about being helpful and being recognised as someone who knows what they’re talking about. It’s about your product being seen by the right people in the right place.

SO HOW CAN WE HELP THE MEDIA CARE ABOUT OUR BUSINESS?

Insight: Relationship building is the cornerstone of public relations.

What people pay for when they subscribe to PR agencies is our book of media contacts. But I’m here to give you the inside scoop. Anyone can build a little black book of clients through thoughtful, slow romance.

You might not have a media database, but you have everything you need.

  1. A newsagent! Look at the contributor pages and search online for the name and social media accounts for journalists and authors. I also like to try magshop.com.au to explore magazines listed under categories of relevance. Whether you’re looking into lifestyle and home or fishing and motoring (there’s something for everyone) - you might be surprised to see what’s included under different headings.

  2. LinkedIn – if you’re not sure of which outlet or who is writing about topics related to your biz, start keyword searching for topics related to business and the titles ‘freelancer journalist,’ or ‘editor’. Alternatively, try ‘small business journalist,’ or ‘fitness writer’.

  3. Google News – throw key terms related to your brand or service into Google and hit the ‘news’ tab to learn who is publishing content on topics that relate to your brand. Stalk the outlets and get to know their agenda.

  4. Social media sleuthing - LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram are super useful to find journos and editors. They’re also a great place to begin to build rapport.

Play the long game. Build the relationship over time, don’t ask for marriage on the first date.

Tip: Nurture the romance. send flowers. Or get creative!

Perhaps you can send a little creative gift with your product wedged in, just to get on their radar.

Insight: “Journos have egos – if you send them something that’s irrelevant or shows that you haven’t done your research, they will be personally offended.” - PENNY CARROLL, BODY+SOUL, WOMEN’S HEALTH

You want to intimately understand who you’re connecting with, and in the best case, have a few engagements (cards, flowers, food!) sent ahead when you really need their attention.

This is where I’d suggest a getting a little creepy. Be connected with them on social media. Ensure you like, comment and share recent articles that they have written. Ask questions on their social accounts and send DMs in reply to their Insta stories. Compliment recent articles they have written in the comments section of the publication or on the social media of the publication.

When you send your pitch email, reference the articles you loved and why (the why is the MOST important part here) and if possible link your current pitch to their recent articles (if they’re the right fit, they should be related).

Insight: If it’s not time sensitive, why bother?

Journos are busy and the news desk is competitive. So make sure you link your pitch to broader conversation – key dates, current trends, statistics, recently published research or trending conversations (eg. Uber, AirBnb, Marie Kondo or the Royal baby).

  • Leverage a trend: ‘The Marie Kondo of digital marketing’

  • Demonstrate mass: ‘Australian haircare brand hits 1M on launch day’

  • Celebrity affiliation: ‘Brisbane baby brand predicts Royal baby fashion trend’

  • Offer the counter argument: ‘Ethical brands take a stand against buy now, pay later schemes like Afterpay’

INSIGHT: Less staff in media

Three-quarters of journalism graduates fail to land a job in the industry” Founder of FIPP

Over the last five years the industry has shrunk by 4.7% according to IBIS World. Readership for major mastheads including women’s magazines has sharply declined over the past five years.

During my time at Women’s Fitness, we had two salaried staff to produce a monthly magazine. The editor of print, the advertising manager (who was also working across other titles), and the rest of us were on month to month of contract teams – design, subbing and digital. The digital team was skeletal, and across a three-day week we were publishing 10 articles, 3 emails, and 5 social posts per day.

TIP: What helped us most? Samples of your product, personalised pitches that were thoughtfully aligned to the magazine and — now this was the REAL winner — well written op ed content with stunning images.

Insight: Deadlines! “After one hour away from my computer I’m likely to be on page 2 of inbox and 100 emails deep” - Josie Tutty, former editor of Mumbrella

Digital editors and journalists work with deadlines that include producing a daily email newsletter. If you email them before this deadline, your email will immediately be lost.

Print deadlines typically have evening deadlines so afternoon emails are likely to get buried under the influx of everything else.

Tip: Research your outlet and understand their cycle. You can make a quick phone call to their front desk, or better, sign up to the email newsletter so that you can read what they’re writing about and understand what time the newsletter is released.

Make your subject line count. Five words. Snappy and to the point.

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Simple steps to win PR

When are you ready?

Before you do any pitching and consider PR you must do an audit of your digital footprint, your eCommerce solution and your social media profiles. Work on your digital hygiene. You want squeaky clean results when a potential client Googles your name. The last thing you want is for rogue websites from previous businesses or unattended social media profiles losing you potential leads.

So do a quick audit and make sure there aren’t any barriers to conversions.

Then, get your media pack ready!

MEDIA PACK

  • One page bio + by-line bio with links to your website and social media

  • High resolution images of you and your product (deep etch, in situ, lifestyle - landscape and portrait)

  • Fact sheets, document themes, statistics, people of influence, and your speaking points (ideally on 5+ topics)

  • Case studies of your work / high profile people or celebrities that are using your product

  • 5 angles to pivot from for each outlet

  • A bullet proof pitch and media release

Getting set up for success

  • Sourcebottle - sign up for call outs in your niche.

  • Google Alerts - set up alerts for key phrases related to your industry.

  • LinkedIn - set up your CV as it relates to your business for outbound and inbound relationship building.

 

GETTING STARTED ON YOUR PR STRATEGY

I see you nodding away, thinking to yourself ‘yep yep I get this, I’m ready’. BUT before you get too carried away, I want you to do something for me. Let’s start with some goals — meaningful, strategic goals that are going to keep your focus clear when you’re busy and distracted by the next bright shiny thing.

What is it that you’re hoping to achieve through your PR?

What are your business objectives that you’re hoping to meet through this outreach?

I want you to answer the following questions (you have a little worksheet that you can print out and pop all of this into):

  1. My campaign is…(What are you doing?)

    (eg. I’m raising awareness of xx because xx, my product/service/knowledge will help xx to xx. I’m motivated by xx and xx.)

  2. Short term goals (6-12 months)

    (They might be: brand awareness, become a regular part of xx conversations, increase social following, generate xx monthly website traffic, achieve xx sales, book xx speaking gigs, secure xx retailers)

    1.

    2.

    3.

    Long term goals (12 months and beyond)

    1.

    2.

    3.

  3. Who is your ideal customer? (there may be several, write down some descriptions)

  4. What are they reading, listening to or watching? (Consider: print, online, podcasts, TV, events or collaborations)

Don’t forget, if you want to ask a question or connect with other people doing this challenge, jump over to our Instagram and find the #DIYPRChallenge post.

How to DIY your PR - publicity homework

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