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Public Relations::

Some of the most important marketing you will do won’t cost a penny. A huge part of marketing anything is building relationships and gaining trust. Public relations, commonly referred to as PR, is technically a subset of marketing, but it definitely needs to be a priority.

Because you are not paying for the exposure, PR can gain your business the legitimacy and credibility it needs. PR is working with the public and one of the best ways to get the word out to the public is through the media. This day in age, the media can be about anything. It can be your traditional newspaper, it can be a blog, a magazine or even a podcast. The key is developing relationships with the media that speak to your target audience.

For instance; if you own a local bakery and cater primarily to residents of your city, your media relations efforts should be spent with the business reporters at your local newspaper, editors for local websites or other local venues. But, if you sell handmade nursing covers online to anyone in North America this changes quite drastically. Your efforts then need to be concentrated on editors of breastfeeding related publications, or perhaps blogs that feature news about indie business owners. By concentrating your efforts you’ll get better results.

So, what do you take to the media? Here are some brief explanations of some materials you may want to prepare. As always, everything you distribute for your company should have a consistent look and feel. Use your logo and slogan repeatedly, stick with the same color scheme, etc. This will build your brand and people will start to recognize your materials immediately.

Pitch

If you are trying to get a media outlet interested in covering your business or your products, a short pitch just might do the trick. A pitch is a shortened press release, of sorts, and can be prepared and presented in several different ways. If you have a personal relationship already established with an editor or reporter, you could pick up the phone and give them a call. "Hey, Julie, this is Amanda from Cute Boots. I just wanted to let you know that we’re just about ready to release our fall line and we have some great new looks. I think your readers would love a sneak peek."

However, if you do not have a relationship with the editor, or you are trying to establish one, a short e-mail would probably be better. Always try to address it to the appropriate person, you’ll be taken much more seriously. Make it short, give your name, your company and in a sentence or two why you think your item/business is newsworthy for their publication. Always attach a photo. And, always give them a way to get in touch with you. Chances are if they want to feature you they will want to get a hold of you quickly.

Basically a pitch is a short teaser. Give them a little bit of information but offer them more. Don’t forget to include why you believe what you have is relevant and of interest to their readers. Why would they want to publish something that their readers care nothing about?

Press Release

A press release offers the media more information than a pitch. If written well enough, press releases can be used as articles in some media outlets, or, condensed into a blurb or announcement in others. Other times, reporters will follow up on a release and write their own article. A press release should not be longer than one page. It should always have an accurate, interesting headline and the first sentence {or lead} is crucial.

If you are having an event to launch your grand opening the headline and lead of your press release should answer the who, what, where, when and why.

"Cute Boots will be celebrating the store’s grand opening with an  open house on Saturday, May 1 at their 313 Main St. location from 1 - 3 p.m." Who? Cute Boots. What? Open house. Where? 313 Main St. When? 1-3 p.m. Why? Grand opening. The following sentences can be used to explain the how. How will you be celebrating exactly? Free giveaways, contests, refreshments, sale prices?

If there will be a photo opportunity (ribbon cutting?) or interview possibilities, it’s always good to let the media know that as well. Press releases should always begin with the release date, the headline and then a dateline at the beginning of the text. Always include your contact information incase they need more information. Generally, press releases end with ### so that editors know there is nothing more. Here are some more tips on writing and formatting a press release.

It also helps if your press release can be written in AP Style, the style used my most major news outlets.

Media Kit

If you are having an event, or launching a brand new business it may be a good idea to create a media kit to hand out to key editors and reporters. Your kit should include your business card, the press release about said event, your brochure or any other relevant information such as pricing and if at all possible a sample. When writers have something in hand they are much more likely to want to write about it and their articles will most likely be much more accurate and interesting.

Now that you have went through all of this effort to get the media’s attention make sure you treat them right. Return phone calls promptly, journalists are always on a deadline! Provide accurate and detailed information. Be pleasant and accommodating. Offer images and/or samples. Give them your attention and they are more likely to give you theirs.

Need Help?

If you need help writing a pitch, a press release or creating a media kit, Market Mommy ® can help! Contact us today and revamp your marketing and public relations efforts!