The Power of PR

Are you in the business of promoting? Got any PR skills? I bet you’re more of a promoter than you might think. You may not know what PR stands for (public relations), but have you ever started a business, played in a band, raised money for a charity or planned a party? If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you should take note of these relatively inexpensive (or free) tactics to help you with your promotional ventures — whatever they may be.

The goal of PR is to create a buzz around whatever you’re promoting. And to do that, you’ve got to know why you are buzz-worthy: Are you doing something unheard of? Partnering with another cool group or company? Raising money for a worthy cause? (And if you’re not, maybe you should be!)

Give people a reason to talk about your events, causes or services. Remember, you’re most likely to support a product, service or event when you are given positive input about it from friends (and just as likely to avoid them when you hear negative reviews).

So how do you get people talking?

Power Tools

The best way to become a good promoter is to believe in what you’re promoting. There are no better tools than passion and knowledge. Once you’ve found your drive, make use of helpful (and free) websites like Facebook or any social channel that connects people with friends and other individuals who share the same interests or background as you. Try creating an “event” page for your event and invite people you think will be interested. If you’re promoting something that doesn’t really involve an event (like your company or charity), consider creating one to generate buzz (like a sale or a party). Include the date, time and photos. People will be able to “RSVP” and that can help you gauge how successful your fundraiser, concert or bake sale is going to be.

Alert the Press

If you want a surefire way to build some buzz, don’t leave out the press. First, you’ll have to come up with some tactful techniques to grab the media’s attention. Try these:

Prep for press. Create a press kit to send to the media. Consider including a press release, photos for them to publish, and/or additional promotional materials like brochures or FAQ sheets. If you’re promoting a band, go the distance and include a CD of your music or a DVD of a concert.

Make it newsworthy. The press are going to be asking,”So what?” You have to tell them why they should check out what you are promoting. Newsworthy attributes include timeliness, relevance, proximity and human interest, to name a few. Try collaborating with other businesses or organizations, holding fundraisers or being part of a new trend to grab some media attention.

Think ahead. The media have deadlines, so make sure you give them enough advance notice. Whether it’s a newspaper, TV station, magazine or website, find out whether they prefer snail mail, fax or email.

Follow-up. If you hand over a catchy business card or a great promotional flyer, don’t risk wasting all your efforts by not following up. Make sure you’re prompt with your follow-up, making it professional and equally as catchy as everything else you’ve done.

Hiring a public relations company to do a single press release campaign can be really expensive, especially for new businesses. But you can still play the PR game even if you can’t pay. Save yourself a grip of cash and use a few free techniques.

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