How To Do Your Own PR In 5 Steps

Whether you’re a solopreneur or an international corporation, a good public relations strategy is invaluable.


PR allows brands to take control of the narrative and communicate with their target audiences. It builds your credibility by getting trustworthy sources like news outlets and industry leaders to talk about you, and transforms your owned channels (i.e. blog, social pages, employee newsletter) into repositories of valuable information for your followers.


If you're interested in launching your own PR strategy, then read on for a 5 step guide on how to do your own PR. All you’ll need up front is a little (ok—a lot) of time, persistence and resourcefulness.



This is a 5 step guide on how to do your own PR, as told by a publicist.


*Note: Use the worksheet below to start building your own PR plan


STEP 1: DEFINE YOUR GOALS


The first step to building a successful PR strategy is to define your goals. If you imagine your campaign as a map, then the goals are its compass. They help guide your campaign and represent what you ultimately hope to achieve.


Defining your goals early on will make creating the rest of your PR plan a much smoother process. Many PR pros like to set S.M.A.R.T. goals—Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound. Basically, you want to make your goals as tangible as possible, this will make it easier to determine whether or not your campaign is working.


STEP 2: MAKE A PLAN


Once you’ve defined your goals, it’s time to lay out the rest of your plan. This is where you will create a strategy, choose your tactics, and determine KPI’s (key performance indicators). More complex PR plans may also include a budget.


Imagine your campaign as a map again. If your goals are the compass, then your strategy is the path you're taking, the tactics are your actions, and your KPI's tell you whether or not you're going in the right direction.


Let's use ABC Corp. (a theoretical company) as an example. ABC Corp. wants to increase sales and has decided to run a PR campaign to spread awareness to their customers about their product offerings. Their PR plan might look like this:

  • Campaign Goals: Spread awareness amongst consumers about product offerings and increase website traffic by 20%

  • Strategy: Reach consumers and drive traffic to website using a blend of strategic media relations, industry awards and social media outreach

  • Tactics: Distribute press releases about new products; secure media interviews for CEO; pursue Best Customer Service and Business of the Year awards; post on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn 3x per week

  • KPI's: Number of media placements; number of industry awards won; social media followers and engagement; website traffic

Measurable KPI’s help you determine whether your strategy and tactics are working to meet your goals. If they're not, then it's time to tweak the plan.


Your PR plan can be as detailed or as simple as you'd like, as long as you include the key elements of how you'll execute your campaign.


STEP 3: ARE YOU RELEVANT? (MESSAGING & CONTENT)


After creating your plan, it’s time to put it into action. Note that this step will require some creativity.


First, write out your main messages. These should be succinct (no more than 1-2 sentences) and quickly spell out exactly what you want your audience to know. Ultimately, your main messages will serve as guide posts when speaking with media and creating content.


After defining your main messages, you'll need to figure out how to get them in front of your audience. This is where your creativity kicks in.


Inserting yourself into the larger conversation.


Unless you’re doing something that’s truly innovative and interesting, an editor is not going to publish a feature story about you. However, if you can offer your expertise on a topic that’s been making headlines, or even if you’re tangential to something that’s buzz-worthy, then an editor may want to include your perspective.


Weaving your messages into the larger conversation is like an art. You cannot sound like you're trying to sell the audience something. Rather, you must demonstrate why it's relevant. And relevance doesn’t just apply to press, it applies to all other channels as well including your blog, social media pages and website.


STEP 4: SCREAM IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS (REACHING YOUR AUDIENCE)


Ok, you've defined your goals, created a plan, laid out your main messages and made yourself relevant—now what? Tell everyone, duh!


Pitch the media, post on social, publish a blog, send out a newsletter, do everything you can to get your message out to your audience.

Wondering how to get your story in front of the media? Check out my blog How To Build A Media List That Actually Works.

When you’re running a PR campaign, you want a steady drumbeat of news about your brand to come out through multiple channels—news outlets, social media, blogs, podcasts, etc. And all of your channels should feed into each other. If you write a press release, don’t just send it to reporters, post it on your website too. If you’re featured on the cover of a magazine, let your social media followers know. If you win an award, send out a newsletter to tell customers and employees.


It may take some trial and error before you figure out what people respond to, but just make sure that you’re being consistent. You don't want to go quiet for too long, remember the old adage—out of sight, out of mind.


STEP 5: MEASURE YOUR SUCCESS


Once you've officially launched your PR campaign, it’s time to start tracking your results. Make sure to measure success while your campaign is running, not just once it's over. This will help you determine whether adjustments should be made (which they almost always certainly do).


How can you you tell if your campaign is working? This is where those KPI’s from Step 2 come back into play.


Let's look at ABC Corp.'s goals and KPI's again:

  • Campaign Goals: Spread awareness amongst consumers about product offerings and increase website traffic by 20%

  • KPI's: Number of media placements; number of industry awards won; social media followers and engagement; website traffic

At the end of the first quarter, ABC Corp. should analyze their results to see where their strategy is working and where it should be modified. For instance, if they had a low number of social media engagements, they would have to reassess the content that they're posting and perhaps tweak their social strategy. Conversely, if they had a high number of media placements, they should try to understand what caused that trend.


Reviewing your results is critical. After all, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results."Albert Einstein


Doing your own PR is possible as long as you stay organized and keep your sights set on your goals. Know that you'll probably make mistakes along the way, but that's ok! The best way to learn is by doing. If you're ready to create your own PR strategy, I've included a comprehensive worksheet below to help you get started on your outline. Good luck and happy PR'ing!

Use the worksheet below to get started on an outline for your PR plan.


SETTING GOALS

  • Why are you doing this campaign?

  • What are you hoping to accomplish?

MAKING A PLAN

  • What is your strategy?

  • Which tactics will you use?

  • Who is your audience?

  • Where do they live?

  • What are their interests?

  • Which channels of communication do they use the most? (e.g. national news, local news, TV news, blogs, trade magazines, Instagram, LinkedIn, podcasts, etc.)

  • Which channels will you use?

  • Who are your spokespeople?

  • Which materials do you need to prepare? (e.g. pitches, press releases, content calendars, articles)

  • What is your timeline?

  • What are your KPI's? How will you measure your success?

ARE YOU RELEVANT? (CREATING MESSAGING & CONTENT)

  • What is your main message—your 15 second elevator pitch?

  • What do you want your target audience(s) to know?

  • What topics are your audience interested in?

  • What is your tone? (e.g. serious, silly, happy, helpful)

  • Have you done anything newsworthy?

  • Has your industry been in the news lately? If so, for what?

  • How can you tie your messaging back to relevant topics/current events?

SCREAM IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS (REACHING YOUR AUDIENCE)

  • Who are your media targets?

  • How is your story relevant to their coverage?

  • When will you pitch them?

  • How often will you post on social media pages? Your blog? (TIP: Create a content calendar)

  • Can you ask your friends/colleagues to share your content?

  • Which organizations are most important in your industry?

  • Do you follow those organizations?

  • Do they accept guest blogs?

MEASURING SUCCESS

  • Did you achieve the goals you laid out?

  • Which strategies worked? Why?

  • Which ones didn’t? Why?

  • Where can you improve your approach?

  • Should any of your tactics be modified?

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