KARINA LYBURN | Personal Branding Photographer

PR: what it is and how it can help you build your brand, by Lou Stewart of Your Kind Co.

PRWHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT ANYWAY?

There are lots of myths surrounding what some call the dark art of PR, from whether it costs a fortune, to ‘it’s only something for big brands’ and my favourite - that we are all ladies who lunch – Ab Fab style!

Well none of these are actually true. My name is Louise and I am a communications consultant and creator of Your Kind Co. I set up the business to help people tell their stories to the media in the kind of way they wanted them to be heard. Put simply, that is what PR is all about, it’s telling your stories to your target audience.

The way we reach that audience is through the likes of press releases, features, blogs, content on your website, social media posts, speaking gigs, awards and influencer outreach. The list goes on, but you get the idea – it’s basically anywhere you can reach the public with your message.

You have to let people know you exist, because even if you do have the best idea/product/service around, but you don’t tell anyone about them, you’ll have no business.

“Advertising is saying you’re good - PR is someone else saying you’re good.”

This quote by Jean- Louise Gassee helps to sum things up. PR is earned media not paid media, it is not about paying for an advert to promote your products, it’s about knowing what makes a good story, figuring out how best to communicate that story and then working out what to do with it.

It’s not a quick hit, it’s about building a brand and taking time to establish your reputation. People often have to see a message three times or more before they take it in, so that could be a story in the press, a social media post and a blog on your website, all highlighting the same message.

SO HOW DOES PR WORK?

You could take a proactive approach with your PR, so write a press release and send it out to the relevant journalists. This allows you to have more control over the message, although something to note, journalists do still have the right to take that story and edit or add to it.

Another avenue is ‘newsjacking’. This is where you write a comment or send out a story in response to something in the news eg; how your business has pivoted during the Covid-19 crisis.

PR people are also good to have around in a crisis. What happens when things go wrong – job losses, store closures, product recalls – the way you handle bad news is just as important as the way you handle good news. Big companies do have crisis comms strategies, but how would you handle a bad review on social media, or a dissatisfied customer complaining to the paper?

WHY NOT?

If PR can help your business grow, drive sales, build your network and turn you into an industry expert - why aren’t we all doing it?

Well you need a good story, the time to sell it in and to find a journalist who wants to cover your story in the publication you want it to be featured. That’s why people employ experts so they don’t have to think about all this, after all, it can be quite stressful if writing or chatting to journalists is not your thing. You could engage a PR expert to take all this off your plate, or maybe you just need some help and advice, so you can give it a go on your own.

The other worry is money, you might have to give away products to get reviews, pay someone to do your PR, or have professional photos taken to go with you story.  By the way, a good photo can be as important as the words as it can really grab your readers attention. It can also give you more column inches or space online. This is where Karina comes in!

All this can seem like a lot to invest in your business especially when you are just starting out, but as Bill Gates said – “If I had one dollar left, I’d spend it on PR.

BE BRAVE - TELL YOUR STORY

Finally, many people think they don’t know how to write a story for the press, draft a blog or create a social media post and even if they did, who would they send this to? Would anyone even be interested? This is one of the biggest things putting people off PR – self-limiting beliefs.

I would say if you are good enough to start your own business, if you have happy clients, a good idea or offer a great service – then you are good enough to
talk about it. If you don’t, someone else in your industry will. It can be uncomfortable to tell your story, but once you start talking about what you’re doing and what you can offer, PR can really help you shine.

If all this tempts you to give PR a try, then I would love to hear from you. It would be great to have a chat and find out more about your business, the people you want to reach and to discuss how PR can work for you. I’m happy to help you create a one-off campaign, a long-term media strategy or give you some help and advice so you can give it a go yourself.

So drop me an email at louise@yourkindpr.co.uk or take a look at my Instagram and I look forward to hearing your stories.

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