When it comes to promoting your business how can you gain a competitive edge? This is something that I have given a lot of thought to this year when making preparations to launch my own business and the truth is, it can be tough. In the beginning, you may find it difficult to compete with established brands operating in your sector to capture the attention of the media and prospective customers.
Standing out from the crowd is a huge challenge but also a must if you want your business to succeed. Here are a few basic PR essentials to adopt before you try to push your brand out there in the media.
ACTION: Take some time out to really go through this list and dedicate some time now to see how you can improve on what you are doing already BEFORE your next press release.
1. Prepare yourself: The best PR strategies are planned, reviewed, tweaked then reviewed again before they are implemented. The key is to think of how your key messages will be received from every angle – media, customers, prospective customers and competitors alike. Do you know your product or service inside out? If not then you will need to rectify that before you begin communicating with the marketplace so you can field any questions from journalists and prospective customers.
2. Form your own brand identity: Before you tell the world who you are make sure you know how to answer the question. Ask yourself questions like: What defines us? What are our values? What makes us different from our competitors? What can we add to the existing market? How is our company unique? What are our aims and objectives? Make a note of the answers you give and make sure there is consistency and quality in your message. It is very important to clearly define your company so ask others for help if you need it.
3. Know your audience: Who are you attempting to communicate with? In-depth knowledge of your target audience(s) forms an essential piece of the PR puzzle when promoting your business. My recommendation would be to research your market – their online presence, what they read, how they themselves communicate with their target market – then devise your PR strategy around them so you can target them via the appropriate outlets.
4. Embrace social media: This can open the door to a world of opportunity but establishing a good online presence is hard work and time consuming. An effective social media strategy can really enhance your brand, values and culture. If implemented from the outset with a clear, consistent voice, your social media presence will really give your company credibility in the marketplace. You will need to dedicate time to directly engage with your followers, answer questions, share information and include them in the conversation.
5. Tell your story…in the right way: Once you know your brand and target audience you need to learn to communicate your story effectively. This is the part of the process where you create the outward voice of your business and begin to relay your key messages. The key here is to not only pick the right platform to communicate your story, but also to create a consistent narrative that represents your brand. This will help you connect to your audience and will make it hard for them to forget you. Incorporate this narrative in your social media, during interviews and any other opportunity to talk about your business.
If you follow this process, you will soon see your business come to life and will catch the attention of both the media and your target customers.
By Kathryn Dishman, Managing Director, KD Communications.
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