Using PR and publicity to promote your business

What is PR? This is a question that I get asked time and time again as a marketing consultant.

Marketing is the overall concept for promoting yourself, your business and your products/services.  Falling under the concept of marketing, are the individual ways to promote yourself, such as PR, direct mail, email marketing etc. Therefore PR is one of the many tactics available to market and promote yourself.

I see PR as doing the ground work to allow advertising to work. PR is about sowing the seeds and planting the idea.  It can be very helpful to warm up a potential customer or reader. Advertising then cements these ideas with an impactful promotion.  If customers have read a useful article from you before you less subtle advert, they will remember you and will be more likely to react to the advert.

How a business comes across through PR or advertising can be different. PR is more of a long term strategy and advertising a more short term.  PR is less forceful than advertising, but not necessarily less powerful. The two go hand in hand and work well together.

Note – be careful! PR isn’t always in a company’s favour if it is not handled right.  All publicity is NOT always good publicity.  Who can forget the unfortunate words of Gerald Ratner about this products being c**p! Timing and planning are key factors to the success of your PR campaign.

How to write to appeal to the journalists

– Headline and Sub headline

– Aim for no more than 250 words, including the key information first

– Include a call to action

– Include a high resolution/quality photograph

– Include a quote from the subject

– Always have company contact info and company information at the bottom of the press release

– Include any hyperlinks, if it is an online press release

Further tips for a publishable press release

Make your press release newsworthy.  Find a hook or angle.  Is it a celebrity, could it be a charity angle or could it be the first shop of its kind in the town or are you celebrating an impressive business anniversary?

Include your contact details so the editor and readers can contact you for more information

Include a photo.  They say a picture paints a thousand words!

A final thought…

PR doesn’t have to be implemented as an alternative to advertising. They actually complement each other well. Remember PR is very much for the long term to raise awareness, do don’t expect overnight results.

*Nicole Martin is the proud owner and director of Pinpoint Marketing Consultancy Ltd.  Based in Buckinghamshire with her husband and two children, Pinpoint Marketing works with small and local businesses to help them raise their profile, find new customers, increase sales and grow their businesses using all of the marketing mix. It understands the small business market and its constraints and opportunities. See for more information.

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