I absolutely love public relations. When I first went to college I studied PR with the idea that I’d be an event planner.
I was totally wrong about what PR people actually do. And, I quickly learned that most people have the wrong idea about public and media relations, and especially small business – they simply don’t know how easily attainable it can be.
Sure, hiring an agency is the best case scenario. I also understand for small businesses this is usually not an affordable option.
In my course, I will be offering some helpful tips to maximize PR efforts, as well as create media releases, talking points and prepare for media interviews.
But before that, I wanted to share one of my favorite ideas for getting media coverage.
When I was the communications director for the American Heart Association (AHA), I had to get creative for our media outreach. Even though I had a budget, I liked to keep it at a minimum because we were a nonprofit.
Whenever I needed media attention around an AHA holiday, I would pull together some goodies for media drop offs.
For example, for National Go Red Day I would drop off a collection of red-themed items. One year I included red nail polish, red labeled hand lotion, red sleep mask and a few other pampering goodies. The most important part of the media drop is carefully crafted talking points and printables/graphics. In this case I included the signs of a female heart attack plus some self-care suggestions. Helping keep stress down will help women avoid the stressers that cause heart attacks.
This is a perfect example of how I worked hard to stand out from other people doing the same thing. I wasn’t just leaving a gift. I was strategic and included a “story” to go along with it. Ultimately hoping to come on a live interview and talk about the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
Some media drops were more abstract – for example, for World Stroke Day I hired a graffiti artist to create a “FAST” (the acronym for stroke symptoms) mural. Days before we were scheduled to paint, I dropped off paint cans at some media desks and included a note to get to our location FAST as to not miss this exciting event.
Get my drift? I have done so many of these for many, many themed days, events and holidays over the years. And I always get at least 2 media interviews from this creative approach, and sometimes every single TV outlet covered the event. The key is to be a resource to the media, not a product slinger (see a connection?).
If you’re curious how you can make this work, I have pulled together a few ideas just for you and your business!
With Mother’s Day around the corner, it is the perfect time to showcase a gift for mamas. Instead of spending major money on leaving a real gift, pull together an experience. If you’re a brick & mortar boutique, offer a personal styling session for a day with a gift certificate – and offer the media outlet to host the giveaway.
For the drop off, you can include a pair of earrings (or another low cost accessory) and say “Treat your mom this Mother’s Day. XYZ Boutique will help one lucky mom tie this together with an entire outfit with a free personal styling session!” and then offer the reporter/TV host to come out and get this done for free too. Invite her to share on her social media and on-air.
You should be GIVING . You should be SERVING.
Pull together summer safety/vacation tips and drop those off with some sunglasses, sunscreen or anything that relates to your brand. The key here is to “pitch” the idea in a way that makes you a resource. Always include how it will benefit their audience!
Say you are a diaper bag brand. Throw some summer essentials into the bag, along with tips on keeping baby safe in the summer rays. Or if you are a boutique that caters to plus size women, come up with 5 ways to take your swimsuit from beach to dinner alfresco (sarongs, maxi skirt, etc). Include a framed picture of Marilyn Monroe in a swim suit saying “This is what plus size looks like.”
Not all “gifts” have to be gifts – but a good media drop is more than just a pitch on paper.
October – Breast Health Month
You can repurpose this idea for any philanthropic mission. Pull together a few of your themed/colored outfits and accessories, reach out to your audience and look for survivors and pitch a media interview fashion show! I absolutely loved doing fashion shows with AHA survivors in red outfits, and it is such a beautiful way to serve these women and your audience.
Make someone feel beautiful, and in the process you will touch many hearts. Only do this if it is authentic for you, so definitely pick a cause that makes sense for your brand.
Media outreach is all about strategy. A reporter must see you as a resource, not just someone hungry for air time. I spent years building my media relationships to the point where they contacted me. That’s a total win in the PR world.
For my absolute favorite PR stunt, check out my latest Live where I share how a National Walking Day Challenge was picked up by Austin-area CEO’s and media:
Hiring a PR agency is always best case scenario. However, unless you are a highly profitable boutique, this isn’t where your budget should be going. With more than a decade of experience in media relations, I want to help you.
If you want to know how to strategically pick what reporter/media outlet to target and talk through more ideas, I would be happy to walk you through this! Send me an email and we can hop on a discovery call and chat about how I may serve you.