Last week during a podcast interview with Digital-Preneur Jason Swenk, I was asked to give some actionable advice to digital, creative and marketing agency owners who want to use public relations to take their agencies to the next level. Great question. Here are five suggestions to help your agency achieve that objective:
1. Develop a written PR plan to compliment new business initiatives.
A written plan will help you manage your time, resources and activities in the most effective way possible. YOU WANT TARGETED, CONSISTENT COVERAGE – and a plan will serve as a road map to get your agency where you want it to go.
As you develop your plan ask yourself, and anyone else involved in the planning process, some important questions:
- What are the desired results from our PR?
- Do we primarily need to create awareness or change perceptions of our agency?
- Do we want PR to help position us as experts in our existing niche or to enter a new industry and become experts there?
- Who are our key audiences?
- What are the best communications vehicles to reach them?
- What are our points of differentiation and key messages?
- How will the PR plan complement our new business development initiatives?
2. Learn all you can about the news media you are targeting.
The best way to increase your chances for success with your publicity efforts is to understand what the news media want, how they work, their pet peeves and what constitutes a good story – from their perspective. It’s also important to know their audience and what will appeal to them.
Most reporters use social media such as Twitter and have blogs, so you can follow them, learn about their interests and even make comments when appropriate to get on their radar.
The key to publicity success is getting the right story idea to the right reporter at the right time.
3. Identify ways to become a source for reporters and influential bloggers.
This is the quickest route to credibility and achieving the perception of expert status in the eyes of your target audience. If during an interview you prove to be responsive, knowledgeable, trust worthy – and you communicate well – the chances are good that reporters and bloggers will come back to you again for future stories.
4. Utilize your blog to create online buzz and establish your expertise.
Blogs are a great way to build your reputation as a subject matter expert (SME) in a particular niche. Followers look to SME’s to express opinions and insights on things happening in that niche, identify trends and provide perspective. Focus on good, relevant, original content and avoid blatant self-promotion. And don’t be afraid to take a stand counter to conventional wisdom!
5. Write a book.
A book can be used to generate publicity (and therefore increase visibility) about an individual and his/her agency, as well as open doors to speaking opportunities. But it does much more because writing a book enables you to share value lessons and insights about your niche, and it enhances your status a subject matter expert. A book can also help you market your agency.
You may already have a good start on your book through content from blogs, newsletters, industry articles, etc. Or, once your book is published, you can repurpose material from it in the same venues such as your blog.
Niche books are the new calling cards for many agencies, and being a published author can really give you a competitive edge. Think how impressive it would be to leave a signed copy of your book at the conclusion of each new business presentation.