Building Your PR Program From The Ground Up

Everyone wants to be on Breakfast Television. Seriously, we’ve never had a PR client or a boss who didn’t at some point hint that their goal was to be a guest of Dina, Kevin, Anne, Kelly, [insert morning TV host name]. But what happens when you buy into that dream and spend your hard earned revenue on a publicist and the efforts fall flat? Here is the first in our series on how to build your PR program from the ground up, and how to know when you’re ready to add media relations to the mix.

Building authority, from O to E

In a previous post we talked about the PESO model, a tried and true strategy for building your public relations. The objective of public relations is to build your authority and to do that you need more than the local reporter’s number on speed dial (although that helps too). The first step to building your authority is through your owned channels (O). This means your website, newsletters, online newsrooms, podcasts or any other channel you use to talk to people.

How does my website content help build my public relations program?

If I was a reporter at the Globe & Mail and a pitch came to me from someone saying they are a relationship expert, for example, I would google them first and then go to their website to read more about their expertise. Ah, but we’ve already jumped ahead of things – we’re building your PR program from the ground up, so you wouldn’t be pitching the Globe & Mail just yet.

The only person or thing you need to prove you’re an authority to is Google. The more content you publish, the more it learns you are an expert. It doesn’t happen overnight, but if you publish content that is optimized around your authentic authority, one day the Globe & Mail will be googling “challenges with venture capital for female entrepreneurs” and one of your well-ranked blog posts will land in their search results. This does require some SEO expertise, but it’s not magic. It’s understanding what your story is and sticking to it.

The second complimentary strategy that can help increase your authority and influence while building your PR program is called partnering. This opportunity is so basic that it’s hard to understand why more business owners don’t employ this thinking: public relations is all about relationships with a multitude of parties, not just the media. Do an audit of who in your network is already influential and invite them to contribute a quote or their own POV to your blog, podcast, newsroom article or newsletter. Ask them if they can return the favour next time they’re publishing their own content. Public relations can be organic through your existing networks, so don’t be afraid to leverage it while you’re building your program.

What if I don’t have the capacity to build my owned content?

As you’ve probably seen, there are a lot of people out there trying to sell you on a shortcut to creating content. The secret is that there isn’t one. Creating good quality communications content at scale is difficult and requires thoughtful strategy and capacity. Our argument here is that media relations is just as expensive whether you bring it in house or hire an agency, but there is absolutely no guarantee of results.

Think about what you can do out in the community, with stakeholders, or customers that can be publicized on your own channels. Open up conversations wherever there is an opportunity and gather content from there. Think about how to tell your organization’s story from all angles and you’ll find content ideas will jump out at you.

Where do I start?

If you start by mapping out your content and doing some research you will get a better idea of where to start. If you’re a writer, start a newsletter and be consistent. Not a writer? Maybe a podcast might be the natural fit, if you find that women interested in natural health and wellness (for example) like to listen to podcasts. It will all depend on your business – and you’re the one who knows it best so trust your instinct and not the latest Instagram ad.

Helping you sort out your public relations program is what we do at Rise – from strategy to storytelling. Get in touch to find out more about how we can help you to build your PR program from the ground up.

Get in touch with us here.

By Sarah Kiriliuk

  • October 26, 2020
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