This article was contributed by wedding PR expert Meghan Ely.
It’s a fact that press is a great “win” for any wedding company desiring to build their brand awareness and overall prominence in the marketplace. At the end of the day however, preparation is key to getting noticed, and having the right PR tools at the ready will serve you well.
Not sure where to get started? Below are four of the top things to consider having in your proverbial back pocket as you embark on public relations strategies:
1. A Media List: When we have news to share, it’s easy to want to broadcast it to every media contact we have on hand. This tactic, unfortunately, is also the quickest way to put yourself on the “do not pay attention to” list by journalists.
Instead, dedicate some of your efforts to customizing a media list that best fits your goals and intended audience. For local contacts, comb magazines, newspapers, web sites and blogs to find journalists who may benefit from your expertise and portfolio.
From there, create, and continue to update, a media list for when the time comes to share newsworthy information and events about your company. Include contact information for the journalists, as well as any relevant editorial deadlines. When you do find yourself featured down the road, this list will come in handy so you can send along a thank you, expressing your thanks for the mention.
2. A Press Release Template: The very best thing you can do when you have company news to share is to disseminate it quickly and professionally. The good news? A well crafted press release will do just that.
Set aside time to research the components of a successful press release, which typically includes an eye catching title, captivating leading paragraph and body of information that outlines all the key points of the announcement. Then, have a press release template in the appropriate format at the ready so that you can customize it for your purposes at a moment’s notice.
3. The AP Style Handbook: Public relations writing is an extension of your brand and poor grammar. Typos and misspellings will no doubt reflect negatively on you. The AP Style Handbook has been the number one resource for PR professionals, media outlets and broadcasters alike since the 1950’s. Hard copies can be purchased online, while subscription services and mobile apps are available through the Associated Press web site.
4. Help a Reporter Out (HARO): HARO is a free, online service that instantly allows you to become a source to nearly an unlimited amount of media outlets. Sign up for a free account and expect to receive three sets of queries on a daily basis Monday-Friday, straight from the journalists themselves.
Once you get into the habit of regularly reviewing the queries, then it is simply a matter of finding one that fits your skill set, and pitching the appropriate journalist. If the writer is interested in using you for his or her article, they will be in touch and suddenly, you’ll find yourself serving as a resource for your industry.
Seeing your name “in lights” can be a tremendously rewarding moment and with the above PR tools in hand your efforts will no doubt be fruitful.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding PR firm OFD Consulting, which specializes in getting wedding professionals their brides. She is a highly sought after industry speaker and serves as a Public Relations adjunct professor for Virginia Commonwealth University. (Photo Credit: Poppies & me)