Mary Gannon

Wednesday, 30 May 2001 20:00

Attracting the media spotlight

You can't be an expert in everything.

So when it's time to develop an effective public relations campaign, outsourcing may be the best option. Using a public relations consultant will likely reduce the numerous hassles and headaches you could encounter if you kept the job in-house.

PR professionals know the media
If you outsource, you won't have to do the research to build a media contact list. Building a list is time intensive, and if you rely on just local publications and the programs you see daily, you might miss several outlets.

Also, PR consultants have established relationships with members of the media. It's easier to get a busy reporter to consider your story through an established contact than by contacting him or her cold.

PR professionals are trained in the field
It takes time to learn how to write a quality news release, including everything from writing a catchy yet newsworthy headline to making the body interesting and informative without boring the reader. PR consultants are trained to not only have the creative knowledge to write effective news releases, but also to cultivate relationships with the media and pitch a story using effective and interesting language.

Time saved means money earned
The time you save by hiring an outside consultant to do your public relations work translates to more money for you in the long run. Though you have to pay their fees, you will better utilize your time focused on running your business.

Clearly define your market and objectives
Public relations professionals can help you better define your market and objectives and help you decide if it's better to target a wide audience or a specific part of the population. For example, your firm has just launched a new medical product. Rather than just sending a news release to the local daily paper, a PR professional will better utilize your time and money by targeting medical journals, and publications and Web sites created by specialty membership organizations, such as the American Medical Association.

Professional guidance
Once the media has set up an interview, you might want to panic. PR professionals can help alleviate this urge by preparing you for interviews and photos. If you've never dealt with the media, and even if you have, the PR professional can guide you through the interview process and steer you away from subjects you may not want to discuss.

It is the word consultant that is so important to your relationship with PR professionals. They are not your employees, but like a good employee, they work to give you and your company the best it deserves.

Mary C. Gannon is public relations coordinator for Rejoice Communications Inc., a Mentor-based full-service public relations firm which specializes in promoting positive messages about positive businesses and people in the community. She can be reached at (440) 205-2600

Wednesday, 12 September 2001 20:00

Using media relations in sales

Staying visible in today's marketplace is often critical to staying alive. That's why it's necessary to aggressively market your business.

Marketing and public relations are perhaps the most vital tools for selling your company's products and services to potential and existing clients. Without putting a face on your company, customers will not really know what your business is all about.

The media is an outlet that is often underutilized. Here are some easy steps to get started.

Press kits as sales tools

So you've put out news releases and and had numerous articles written about your company. What do you do with them now? Don't just toss them in a file. They are one of the best sales tools you have.

When speaking with potential new clients or customer, always give them a press kit. Press kits can include newspaper or magazine articles, news releases, brochures and flyers about your company. A press kit with news clips proves your company is good enough to be recognized by the media.

Consistency is key to remembrance

Keep a consistent, positive image in the press. Even if a newspaper article or a clip on television does not garner you new business immediately, it may jog your customers' memories down the road.

The idea is to keep your name in front of your audience so people will remember it. Then, when they need your services, they'll remember that article and think, "Hey, I remember that company. Why not give it a try?"

The good guy always wins

Bringing to light your charitable acts is another way to keep customers and potential customers thinking of you when it comes time to buy .

A story about the donation of money or computers to a school, or your firm's volunteer efforts with charitable groups is good public relations. Most news organizations like to do stories that show local businesses doing good for the community.

And, if your competitor is out there getting recognition, who do you think your customer is going to want to do business with -- Mr. Good Guy or Mr. Apathetic Guy? I'd buy the product of the business that is trying to make a difference somewhere, in someone's life.

So don't be afraid to get involved, and don't feel guilty for trying to publicize those efforts. You should be proud of what you're doing and in the end, it may motivate other businesses to follow suit.

Mary C. Gannon is public relations coordinator for Rejoice Communications Inc., a Mentor-based full-service public relations firm which specializes in promoting positive messages about positive businesses and people in the community. She can be reached at (440) 205-2600.

Rejoice Communications website