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How To Exploit PR… In 30 Easy Steps

by Alf Nucifora

For most businesses, PR starts and ends with the press release, or if their lucky, a buried mention in a trade publication. The companies who have mastered the art of leveraging their media and PR activity consider the initial publicity platform as a base for other marketing communications programs. The list of possibilities and opportunities is almost endless, covering the waterfront from customers to employees, investors to vendors.

What follows, is an assortment of tools suggested by the Atlanta-based PR firm, William Mills Agency, a specialist in B2B media communications with more than 65 clients throughout the U.S. While some of the advice is fundamental, most of it is currently ignored by smaller, less-sophisticated marketing departments that lack the culture or the resources to exploit PR opportunities to their fullest.

Customer Communications

    1. Repackage press releases as articles for newsletters (traditional hard copy and e-newsletters).

    2. Send recent article reprints, with an attached cover letter from the CEO, to reinforce the company's growth and success.

    3. When customers are quoted in a company-featured article, send a reprint along with a gift, e.g., bottle of wine, and an acknowledgement letter ("Congratulations and thank you for your support!").

    4. Package article reprints and company news in binders for distribution at customer meetings and to user groups.

Trade Shows

    5. Use press releases for "room drops" and other attendee outreach on the important days of the show.

    6. Distribute press releases as "breaking news".

    7. Use enlargements of article reprints to augment booth signage - on easels or booth walls.

    8. Include article reprints in collateral packages and hand-outs.

Company Website

    9. Develop a pressroom on the company website which includes announcements and e-press kit.

    10. Post headlines or abstracts of recent media coverage on the entry page with links to the full text. Links can be to the company news section or direct to publications' websites.

    11. Supplement the "About the Company" section of the website with references to bylined articles and significant stories or coverage within industry publications.

Direct Marketing

    12. Consider distributing press releases as part of direct mail or e-mail campaigns.

    13. Highlight the company and its product or service benefits in an article, and mail/email (PDF) to prospects with a brief note ("Thought this might be of interest to you").

    14. Send article reprints with invoices or other routine correspondence to reinforce customers' positive feelings about their purchase.

    15. Create a multi-media CD or DVD featuring company successes and send to prospects.

Sales Materials

    16. Enhance sales presentations with image reprints of relevant and supportive articles.

    17. Boost the credibility of information kits with articles or new announcements.

    18. Produce a brochure that showcases the company's extensive media coverage with a caption, "Looks Who's in the News".

    19. For sales training support, feature competitive clips to teach how to overcome objections or misconceptions.

Employee Communications

    20. Email company success stories, featured in the media, to employees. Remember, employees want to work for winning companies.

    21. Line hallways or conference rooms with framed reprints to highlight company achievements.

    22. Post articles in the employee break room. Highlight important passages, or references to employees.

    23. Have articles professionally bound into a book for the lobby or reception desk.

    24. Hand out article reprints at company meetings.

Investor Relations

    25. Recap media successes and share with investors or board members.

    26. Feature "call outs" or highlight sections of a positive article in investor presentations and annual reports.

Executive/Company Positioning

    27. Promote key executives as potential panelists or speakers for industry conferences.

    28. Play up company success stories that have been featured in the media in order to support and enhance award submissions.

    29. Develop bios/CVs for company executives that showcase their status as a published, industry-acknowledged expert. Reference specific publications and other media where they have been previously featured.

    30. Forward "media success" packages to local civic organizations, chambers of commerce and business associations in pursuit of speaking opportunities or newsletter mention.

Unfortunately most, smaller businesses view PR in a limited light…solely as a tool to generate ink and get exposure for the brand name or product. The businesses that leverage PR understand its value as visibility generator, but they take it one step further…they exploit it, viewing it as a facilitator that allows and encourages the company's or brand's successes in the media to ripple throughout the organization… to attract prospects, deepen customer loyalty and inspire employees. That's real bang for the buck.

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