I love working with emerging technology brands. Many times, it’s a fast-paced environment and there are new features, new clients, and lots of activity happening every month. It’s exciting to be a part of a business that is growing and I’m always happy to do my part to keep the brand and business leaders in front of their target audience.
If you are planning to work with a PR consultant for the first time, then there’s a bit of prep work that you can do in advance to ensure a smooth and productive project experience. Many agencies will go over requirements with you in advance of your engagement, but here are a few items to consider that should help you along the way:
- Think about your publicity goals. Something led you to engage a PR consultant, possibly to help with media outreach, crisis communications, public speaking engagements, or maybe even community partnerships. Whatever the reason, take some time to consider what you are hoping to achieve for yourself (personal or career goals) and your business. It’s important to keep in mind that PR is not the same as advertising, so your PR campaign may not lead to direct sales right away. However, a good PR campaign can certainly support your marketing and sales initiatives by adding credibility to your brand, generating greater visibility among your target audience, and educating the general public about your products, services or industry.
- Think about your story. What is the story of your business? How did you start it? Why did you start it? Can you point to specific stories, people, and experiences that helped to shape your decision to start this business? What about growth — what has led to the growth of your business? What sets you apart from your competition? Why do customers love you, your products, or your brand? Take a few notes on these things. In particular, take into consideration those things that will really set you and your business apart and help you to stand out. Leave no stone unturned as you consider your unique back story. As you explore each area, think about how willing you are to invite the world in to share your story and learn from your experiences. Many times, I meet business owners who want to keep their personal lives very private and they only want press coverage to focus on certain aspects of the business. This can be very restricting, especially for a new or emerging brands. It leaves us looking primarily to business publications, blogs, and industry trades. Instead, if we can talk about your personal interests, hobbies, sports, volunteer work and more, then we can find unique story angles that appeal to broader media targets. The more you are willing to share about your personal AND professional journey, the more people we can reach in your target audience. Boundaries are important and it’s okay to set them. There will be areas that you consider off-limits to the press and that’s fine. Just carefully consider your story and decide where you want to draw those lines. Be open to discussing some of those borderline topics with your PR consultant to determine how it might add to your unique messaging and create a more compelling story.
- Think about your audience. Think about who you are hoping to reach with your PR campaign. What are you hoping this audience will do once they encounter your brand? If the first or only answer is “buy my products,” then you might be better served by launching a strong advertising campaign first, followed closely by a PR strategy that helps to build brand recognition and credibility among your intended audience. Start by looking at data points from your existing client base: Who’s buying your products (gender, age, demographics)? Who are the key decision-makers (CEOs, CFOs, moms)? Who are the influencers (HR execs, sales teams, children)? Knowledge about your ideal client — and those who influence the buying process — will help us to create a profile from which we will identify media sources, events, and other outlets that reach your intended audience.
If you take the time to think through these three areas before you engage a PR consultant, then I guarantee your experience will be far more successful. By first thinking through these areas, you create a baseline from which to compare your campaign results. As you look at the achievements of the campaign, you can ask did this engagement meet the goals that I had in mind? Did it cover the messages and storylines that we discussed? Did it reach the target audience that I intended?
Answering those questions will help you understand if you’ve hit the mark or if you need to make some adjustments to your campaign strategy.
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If you’ve thought through these three areas and you’re ready to move forward with hiring a PR consultant, please consider working with Firefly. We’d love to talk with you about your project or brand to see if we would be a good fit. Contact us today!