With everything going on today, you’re likely doing your best to adapt in business. We’re all navigating uncharted territory to find the best path forward, and marketing is one of the biggest challenges companies and organizations face during these uncertain times. As I’ve written about previously, we certainly can’t operate as if it’s business as usual. I’ve talked about the importance of not being tone-deaf. It’s more important now than ever before to be present with what’s happening in the world and what people are dealing with, and then, to explore creative opportunities and solutions.
This new way of business might mean trying new tools, moving services in-house or even doing your own marketing. New strategies and structures may seem a little overwhelming at first, but in the long run, it might be exactly what your business needs.
What should you focus on? It probably doesn’t surprise you that as CEO of a publicity company, my go-to answer is public relations. 😉 Why? I truly believe that PR is the most powerful tool to creatively present who you are and the value you bring to the world. But you might be surprised to know that I don’t always recommend hiring a PR company. Why not? Well, I believe that with a little support, anyone can be successful and land PR results for themselves. And in these turbulent times, this might make the most sense for you and your company.
So how do you know whether tackling PR yourself is a good idea? The answer comes down to two things:
- What do you love to do? ❤️
- Do you have the required skills? 🤔
There’s a lot of information online about how to handle PR. But it wasn’t until recently that I saw how the answers to these two questions are a very powerful indicator of whether PR is a good choice or not. What clued me in was this: Since the pandemic hit, we started giving away our “21-Day PR Action Guide.” It’s our way of giving back. In addition, I’ve been doing a lot of free PR calls to make sure that the people who download our guide are pointed in the right direction. The thing I noticed is there are common roadblocks for people doing their own PR.
Just as with any facet of business, there are certain things we just don’t love to do (or, let’s face it, don’t have the time to do). Those things are the roadblocks. This is no surprise, really. This is the case with most things in life. I just hadn’t heard many business owners break it down that way.
If you’re looking at handling PR yourself, my recommendation is to start by assessing your ability to do the things you really love to do. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Do you have the skills you need to do the things you love about PR? Do those things, and then consider finding someone to support you with the things you don’t love.
So what are the essential skills you need to handle PR?
Creative Thinking 🙃
Branding and positioning yourself can be challenging. As a business, expert or cause, sometimes it’s hard to see the water you swim in. Are you really clear about how you’re unique and the value you bring? Do some self-reflection to get clear about your key messaging. This is where the magic happens. Your intention will get amplified with PR, and you’ll be making the difference you’re truly committed to making.
Content Development 📦
Developing content for a PR campaign means having the ability to communicate with words in various ways. Writing your online press kit, which includes your bios, interview questions and story ideas, is very different from writing website copy, which is different from writing media pitches, articles, blog posts, press releases and social media content. You get the idea. Is your writing style adaptable?
Building Relationships 🤝
Do you love diving deep to find who you should be in a relationship with? You know how to position yourself, and you can write, but do you know who you should actually pitch? This is a question we get asked frequently. Relationship-building is a skill set, and it means doing the research to figure out what media serves your target market and exactly who you want to know about you.
To handle PR, you need to be organized and structured. That’s why an online press kit can be so helpful. An online press kit keeps the media organized by immediately providing everything they need, and it keeps you organized at the backend by having all of your media materials in one place. What are the essential elements? In addition to a media-ready home page, we recommend including these pages: bios (byline, broadcast and full), media coverage, news and story ideas, suggested interview questions, images and contact information. When the media comes knocking, simply send them a link. No delays. No attachments. No need to even be in the office.
Look, we’re all trying to find creative ways to navigate these uncharted waters. No matter where you are in business, one of the most valuable tools you can learn to use is PR, but you don’t need to hire a publicist. You can create a successful, cost-effective PR campaign by figuring out what you love to do. For the things you can’t (or don’t want to) do, you may want to consider hiring someone.
Being adaptive in the current business landscape is essential. Now’s the time to take an honest look at yourself and your team so you can identify the skills that are missing and get the support you need so you can enjoy the ride. ✨