By Sophie Wilson, CEO and Founder, Tuesday Media
Bollinger on tap and a stressed-out Eddie shouting nonsense down the phone - Ab Fab gave PR a hilariously bad name. It also showed us that, despite being a multi-million-pound industry we all know is important, not many can convincingly explain what PR is.
At Tuesday Media, we often come across clients who know they need PR, but don’t know how to go about doing it right. We’ve even come across PR agency workers who can’t properly articulate what they do. So, to help you navigate the nebulous world of PR (without Patsy at your side) I’ve pulled together a five-point guide for understanding and making the most of it.
1: PR sounds fabulous, darling. But what is it?
PR is the art of telling your story to the right audiences. It's keeping you in (and sometimes out) of the news. It's taking your great idea, product, people or service and making sure the right ears hear about it. In practical terms, this can involve taking stories in the form of press releases to journalists, cultivating an online presence through social media and positioning an organisation or its people as experts in their field.
2: What will an agency actually do?
That all depends on what you need. Are you looking to raise the profile of your brand, to boost product sales or raise awareness on a particular issue or event? Maybe you need to start further upstream and sort out messaging and media materials (your suite of public-facing content – such as data, images, key information, case studies). What you need will determine an agency’s role, and the amount of time you’ll need them to spend working with you. Agencies take briefs that range from a few days to a few years’ work – it's all up to you.
3: Great, I know I need PR. How do I write a brief?
Start with what you want and work backwards. Whatever you’re looking for, you need to know what success looks like before you ask for help. Once goals are established, be clear about timeframes and budget. PR agencies will do the work in terms of researching your business and competitors, but don’t make them reinvent the wheel. If you already have information about other businesses operating on your pitch, share it.
4: Will hiring an agency make my life easier?
Yes and no. A good agency will crystallise your messaging, take you into spaces you haven’t been in before and help you join the dots between what is happening in the wider world and your business. But they can’t do this without working closely with you and will need your regular input, sign off and attention. But, PR will add value for your business and is worth doing properly. When you take on an agency, carve out the time for someone in your team to be their point of contact.
5: Is all news good news?
Definitely not! We all fall prey to the lure of the established papers, but there’s no point featuring in, say, The Telegraph if twenty-somethings are your target audience. Content for content’s sake makes no sense. Coverage should be targeted, streamlined and always aimed at your audience.