TEN TIPS FOR POSITIVE PUBLIC RELATIONS
By: Barbara Fornasiero, EAFocus, Inc. (www.eafocus.com)
To practice good public relations and help elevate your company to the position of industry or thought leader, consider the following tips:
- Make the media (newspapers, magazines, web publications, television and radio) aware of your company’s product orexpertise through well-crafted news releases that announce company news and views.
- Only send news releases that are timely and substantive. For example, significant new client/customer contracts, new orredesigned products, a company move or expansion and new or promoted staff constitute valid subject matter for a news release. Taking a position on a new or proposed tax, government ruling or industry trend is also a legitimate use of a news release or an editorial
- Using a news release to announce business as usual type of information is not appropriate and can turn off media andinstead send them to your competitors when seeking expert comment. Similarly, don’t “pitch” reporters directly (via email or phone) with non-news stories; it can appear like you are looking for free advertising rather than helping a reporter tell a story and do his work.
- When speaking to the media, especially when discussing a sensitive or controversial topic, understand that whatever isstated will be interpreted as the company’s position. Accordingly, be prepared for an interview with up to 5 key message points about the topic that you want to share.
- If your company is facing negative backlash as a result of a safety issue or controversial product or position, forexample, enlist the help of a public relations professional to obtain crisis communications counsel and an action plan.
- Never avoid the media when faced with a difficult situation. Being open up front to the extent that it is possibletypically helps a company emerge from a crisis with its reputation intact (bruised, perhaps, but still intact!)
- Consistent, ongoing, positive media coverage can and ultimately should position you as a thought leader in your industryand highly regarded in the general business community as well; this in turn helps attract new business opportunities and reinforces to clients that you are reputable and that they are glad they do business with you. Don’t neglect a defined PR strategy within your marketing plan.
- Recognize and nurture the benefits of non-media PR. Examples include courteous follow-up that results in satisfiedcustomers, practices that anticipate the needs of customers, and even a pleasant office environment that is clean and has current design.
- Enlist all company employees to serve as goodwill ambassadors. Your staff should be viewed as ambassadors who can spreada positive message about your company via their dress, attitude and behavior whenever they are in a public setting (meetings, business cocktail parties, training sessions, chamber events). Business owners and their staff are “the company” to the person they are meeting.
- Positive public relations is based on positive relationships. Nurture and encourage relationships between your companyleaders and staff, the media, current clients and customers and prospects. This will help create the goodwill and trust that should be the foundation of any public relations plan.