Even thought I am no longer doing the #bossbabe features, I still intend to switch it up a bit and share some advice from awesome ladies that I collaborate with within the industry. Karen Jayne (KJ) Blattenbauer is one of those ladies.
KJ is the creator and owner of Hearsay Public Relations (20 plus years experience), creator of the blog GirlAbtTown.com, author of the ebook The Buzz, was a division II athlete at the University of North Dakota and even holds a certificate in fashion industry essentials from Parson’s School of Design. Girlfriend does it ALL.
That is why I just had to sit down with her and gather her PR knowledge. Especially for the health and wellness bloggers who follow BYOK. Grab a booch, check out her 7 PR tips for #bossbabes below and then don’t forget to check out her newly launched website HEARSAY PR!
1. BE PREPARED
The most common mistake I see as a PR rep is that a brand or small business isn’t prepared. Plain and simple. Like anything else in business, you need to have a publicity plan in place long before your first interview happens or before you reach out to your first influencer.
Believe me, there’s nothing more fantastic than watching a brand take off overnight thanks to a mention on The Today Show. But a lot of brands aren’t ready to capitalize on that press success and they become one-hit wonders.
Having a PR plan in place ensures you know what you want said about your brand, products, or offerings, when you want it said, and where you want to see your brand’s name in lights. It helps you build the momentum that will make you a media darling.
2. KNOW YOUR KEY MESSAGES
Key messages are the way you want others to think, talk, and feel about your brand. They will make every aspect of your brand’s communications more effective, whether it is advertising, marketing, or PR and media outreach. Key messages are the takeaways that you want anyone who comes into contact with your brand to quickly understand. They can be used on your website, social media updates, and in pitches to the media.
To be useful, key messages should be:
- Few in number, usually no more than three to five.
- Concise, no more than a sentence or two delivered in seven to eight seconds.
- Free of jargon, devoid of technical language, and relevant.
- Written down and shared internally across the brand or business.
- Consistent, so they can be repeated if they are to sink in.
3. CREATE A PR VISION BOARD
To take it further create a PR vision board. As a child I learned if you want something bad enough, you put it out into the universe and then you go after it. As a professional, I put my goals down on paper and then hold myself (and others) accountable until said goal is achieved. The same principle applies to getting your small business or product in the news, which is where a PR vision board comes into play. It also is why I ask every client early on what PR success looks like to them, down to specific news outlets.
Your PR vision board should list the media outlets you want to be written about in and how you’re going to make that happen. By creating this list, you’re creating a relevant strategy to connect consistently with the reporters you care about. First, gather your resources. Use the editorial calendars available to you and your target media list mentioned above to craft the media outlets and reporters you are going to pitch to, when you are going to reach out to them, and how you plan on reaching out to them.
Next, give yourself a timeline to reach out, like one month intervals over the next eight months. This means each month, you’re going to find a relevant reason to pitch your business to each and every reporter and media outlet on your list. This outreach can include comments on their most recent article or story, emailing (not spamming) reporters, pitching news relevant to editorial calendars and national timelines (i.e. September is National Self Improvement Month) as well as company milestones.
4. SIGN UP FOR HARO (HELP OUT A REPORTER)
Sign up for HARO (Help a Reporter Out).This should be the first stop for anyone looking to get press. It also is the easiest. HARO provides you with real-time media opportunities up to three times daily, straight from journalists on a deadline who need a source. You can filter opportunities by industry and start submitting your info immediately wherever it is relevant. For example, a reporter from Healthis looking for a source to share their personal stories about what it is really like to live with multiple sclerosis. Your personal struggle, and how it impacts your life as an entrepreneur, might be just what they need to finish their article. While an excellent resource, there is a right and wrong way to HARO. You have to be prepared and quick to respond to inquiries to be considered. I recommend reading this HARO tip sheet from Cision before hitting send on any opportunity.
5. PR SHOULD ALWAYS BE ON YOUR RADAR
Another common mistake I see people making is not taking PR seriously or having the right mindset. They think they can just dip their toe into publicizing their products or services.
There’s no such thing as “a little bit of PR.” PR is something you need to be thinking about all the time.
To be successful in PR means you are always thinking about your relationship with the public. You must develop the right frame of mind so you embrace the myriad opportunities out there to connect with their target customers in a positive, meaningful, and respectful way.
At the same time, you also consider how you can engage members of the media. Plus, help them create engaging and widely-read content that serves their target audiences—whom you want to make your customers.
There’s a reason why PR professionals exist. Just like your bookkeeper, web team, or any monthly software you use, it’s an area of business that needs to continuously be operational. Yes, there is a time when an entrepreneur or small business can manage their PR on their own; however, if it’s not something you can dedicate, at the very minimum, 40 hours per month to—it’s time to ask a professional for help.
6. REACH OUT TO YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Share helpful information with your targeted audience. You have a blog, but are you leveraging other social media mediums, especially Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, to show how you’re an expertise in your field or industry? Give a speech to a community group or local school explaining the latest trends in your industry. Host an informational workshop for your clients and friends at a local community center in your area of expertise. Watch the news of the day to see how you might be able to offer expertise or tie the day’s news hook into a way to leverage it for your own promotion.
Also, look for opportunities to share the news of your business. Have you hired new staff? Send out a press release with his or her head shot. Have you taken on a new client, customer, or promotion? That’s another good reason for a press release. How about an award or a published article? That’s newsworthy, too. Did you create a new invention, patent, or trademark? Also, a reason to reach out to the media.
7. FIGURE OUT IF YOU CAN DO THE PR ON YOUR OWN OR HIRE A PROFESSIONAL
I think the most important thing is to know what your overall PR goals are before you go it solo or hire a publicist. And then be honest with yourself on whether you can successfully meet those goals doing it solo.
If you are truly committed and can make time to dedicate 10-15 hours per week to only PR, then you may not need a professional. But it takes time to gain traction, build relationships with the media, find out the right person to contact, and the like.
Just like in business, it takes time to see results for your PR efforts. There are no overnight success stories. Anyone who says they became one is lying to you.
If you do decide you can manage your own PR, a great place to start is by checking out one of Hearsay’s newly launched DIY PR packages! I’m kidding, but not really.
Let us know what you think! xx Erica