Creating a buzz or publicity for your brand (corporate or product/service) is of prime importance today. Organisations are doing it, celebrities are doing it, and even the holier-than-thou godmen are fighting for their space in the sun! For businesses to grow, it’s imperative that your potential customers get to know about what you do or sell. This is where media steps in and companies can utilize their power to spread the word and build a reputation in the market. And, you can learn how to use the various Public Relations tools and adopt strategies to promote your business.
Why create a buzz?
To build brand awareness, to generate business leads, to differentiate your brand from competition and to promote your product or service. Here you have to know your product, your market and marketability, your audience and your competition.
How to create a buzz? First you can pitch to the local media with a riveting story. Storytelling will add a human element to your brand message, conveying your brand message to your TG (target group) leading to a call for action. Use creative pitching strategies to perk up media interest and build a buzz.
What are the benefits of publicity? It has an impact on sales, builds instant credibility and interest in your business and also helps ensure that people recognize your brand name. Most importantly, it is free. Plus it helps establish you and your business as an authority, and helps generate customers for your brand.
Get your story correct
And, as far as storytelling goes, decide on what your story is? Remember you need an interesting story. Get behind the starting line – how did you start your business and why? What makes it different and unique? And, most importantly, what makes it interesting? As part of your marketing activities, develop an Intergrated Marketing Communication plan and a publicity strategy too.
The news angle must be worked out. Your news must be new, unusual or sensational and must affect many people and be of public interest. It must make interesting reading, viewing, and/or listening. Of course, it goes without saying, it must be innovative, creative, beneficial, funny or extraordinary.
Here are some ways to generate publicity for your company through the media.
- Develop a database
Create a database or contact list of the journalists – editors, journalists covering your beat at local/regional/national newspapers, magazines and online news portals. Identify which groups of writers cover your beat – who tracks your business, like the business, sports, politics or food editor. Search for their names, spell names correctly, find out designations and maintain a current database. This database must be live, and updated. Journalists switch jobs, so keep track of those you deal with.
- Send news releases
Make a PR plan for the year and send out news or press releases to the appropriate editors. Try to send a press release at least once a month, so that your brand stays alive in the readers’ minds. Some tips to master a press release – write in a reverse pyramid style, roping in the 5Ws and 1H. The most important information up front, and the first paragraph should essentially contain the “who, what, when, where, why and how” of the press release, with descriptions and comments following later. At the bottom, include a one-paragraph backgrounder – company description and your contact information.
Press releases should be written in a business-like format and style; avoid aery-fairy language and don’t try to sell anything.
- Contact the press, respond to breaking news
If you have big news, it is perfectly fine to call the editor or newsroom, especially if your news is timely. Look for trends in the marketplace, tie in to big news stories, or report a breaking story. This is how many stories get to the media.
Respond quickly and tie in your point to either rebut or enhance the current breaking news. Silence may keep you in the background. A response will immediately bring your brand into the forefront.
- Invite media
Hold an event and invite the media. It may be to a press conference or a ‘hands-on’ sampling of your product or service. Also send a press release pre-promoting the event and a follow-up release reporting the results. Include photographs (with names and captions) and/or video too.
Alternatively, angle for free publicity. There are many options open to you. Do a customer survey, ask some controversial questions and publish the findings. It can be a story on the unusual info that is thrown up. Or you can generate stories like – create Top 10 automobile design trends for 2016. Develop a community award, which can be an annual affair. Write a story about some surprising facts about your brand. You can sponsor a local community service project, or even do some interesting research and publish the findings.
One thing is clear – if you haven’t been using the media, make it a point to do so now. It is an easy and economical way to both grab the spotlight, and to garner publicity.