In the world of business, how can we differentiate public relations from advertising? What is the difference between the two?
When we say public relations, it refers to a feature that your company is not paid for. The reporter who is assigned to do a story on your business will write print articles and reviews, as a result of information that they have researched about or have received information from.
Whereas, advertising means you have to pay for your company’s message to go out in public like radio exposure, spots on the newspaper, or TV commercials. If you think about it, getting publicity can be more efficient compared to advertising.
For one, regarding cost, publicity can be more cost-effective compared to advertising. Even if sometimes it may not be free, the only expense that you will have is the phone calls and email that you will be sending to the media source. Second, publicity has a longer effect compared to advertising.
An article that is featured about your business will be remembered by a lot of people compared to a radio or TV ad. Plus, publicity reaches a broader audience than advertising. In some cases, your business story may even be picked up by a larger media source and can spread all over the country or maybe even across the globe.
Lastly, publicity has a far bigger credibility with the public as compared to advertising. The last comparison is the most important because readers who view your story feel that if a third party source like a reputable magazine, a radio reporter or a newspaper features you and your company, then you might be doing something with your life that is worth telling the story about.
So now the big question is, why do some companies prefer advertising over publicity? If you want to get noticed adequately, it has been proven that no matter how large or small your business is, the secret to gaining good publicity is to correctly identify your target market and come up with a detailed public relations strategy.
Bradley Shaw from dallaswebsitedesign.com came up with these tips to get your company noticed:
Write down all of your objectives
First of all, things that you should do is list down all of your business goals. Ask yourself, what do you want to achieve for your business through the publicity plan that you want to put into action?
Once you have come up with a list of goals, make sure to list down at least five of your most important ones. When it comes to listing down what needs to be prioritized first, be specific and ensure to give your self-deadlines for these objectives.
Identify the people that you want to target
Listing down your target market is very easy. The trick here is to be as specific as you can. So ask yourself, who do you want to focus on? Are they male or female? What kind of lifestyles do they live? How much money do they earn? What kind of buying habits do they have? In what area do they live?
So for example, you own a restaurant, and you serve exotic cuisines. Your target market would probably be around the age of 30 and above, both male and female. Preferably earning an average income and can afford dishes that are beyond $50.
Sometimes it helps to conduct a survey and do market research with these kinds of things. The faster that you can do a thorough research, the better results of finding your target market.
Identify your Media Target
If you have newspapers and TV/Radio Programs nearby, list all of them down. Make sure that you make a complete list of all the media that you want to get, and then give them a call and ask about whom you should be talking to about your business.
If they have a particular person who handles your area, you may want to get in contact with them personally. You can also check at the library that is nearest to your area because libraries usually have media reference books that have a complete list of contact numbers and names.
You can also list down all the names, telephone numbers, and addresses that you can find. It would be better to keep your list separate so as not to confuse TV, Radio and print sources together. It will also be a good idea to research on these people and what they write about so that you have an idea whom to pitch your ideas to.
Come up with angles for your story
With the all the potential media outlets that you will be approaching, come up with a list of ideas that you can pitch to those people. You can also find your angles for the story that you want to be featured on TV or for people to read about. Brainstorming is also a good idea, set aside at least 45 minutes for this with a business partner, your employees, your family or maybe even your spouse so that you can come up with good and fresh material.
Put the pitch into play
Once you have come up with a good idea for your pitch, you can now write your thoughts down on a piece of paper, and send them to the reporter or to the media outlet that you want. Make sure that you indicate in your letter, that it is the “pitch letter.”
If you have no idea how to start, it will always be good to go with a question or an interesting fact that relates to your line of business. So for example, if you are going to write for a magazine that is aimed to target people who are of age, you can start with something like “ did you know that most women who are over the age of 60 have begun to save for their retirement?”
After the question, you can then start with your pitch, something like: “As a reputable Financial Analyst, I can give your readers 15 tips to jump-start their life into a comfortable retirement . . .” You have to make sure that your pitch is no longer than one page and make sure to include all of your contact information so that the reporter can get in touch with you.
Unless the situation calls for it, you can include a press release with your pitch letter, but you have to include your statement of position in any press releases that you send out.
Time for you to follow up
One of the most important parts of securing media coverage is through following up. The best period to wait is between four to six days after you have sent all of your information. Once you have done that, you can now follow up your pitch letter with the reporters through a phone call.
If by any chance you end up getting passed on to voice mail, and you do not get a call back from the reporter, try to call back again until you catch the reporter on the phone. It is important that you do not leave a second message within a five-day period since your last call. If they end up asking you for additional information, make sure to send all the needed details immediately and ask them to confirm the receipt.
Try these tips for your self to get free publicity
When it comes to media coverage and all other aspects of public relations, it is important, finding a good reporter or a source of media to feature you is what will make your business gain full exposure.
Try out these tips for yourself. We guarantee that after you have followed each step precisely and the same way as indicated above, you could be on your way to entrepreneurial success, and full exposure for your business.
Plus, it could mean that you earn more customers for your business, and gain a better reputation for the products and services that you sell.