Even if your grasp of PR is solid and your communication is effective, it can always be better. If you don’t think so, look over your shoulder, because someone who is dedicated to being better is about to pass you by. If you’re ready to improve, here are some specific steps you can take to improve your public relations today.
Focus Your Messaging
When you have multiple market channels, multiple products, and multiple people or teams focused on varied projects or objectives, it can be easy for message confusion to creep into your communication. As part of your regular operational plan, take time to evaluate and refocus your messaging, identify your key messages and get everyone on the same page. Your core message should answer these questions:
- What are we best at?
- What unique value do we offer?
- What should we represent to our market?
The answers to these questions should inform all your other communication, internally and externally. Focused internal communication keeps your team unified, and focused external communication provides clarity for your audience.
Learn More About Your Market Channels
You need to know more about key journalists than what they typically write about. Learn their style, their preferences and tendencies. All journalists have specific needs and wants. You should be able to meet one or both of these. Instead of being another PR person looking for an outlet, become a solution for them.
Develop a Communication Calendar
Regular messaging should not come as a surprise to you, ever. Sure, there will be times when things come up or challenges create pressing needs, but your standard communications should be plotted on a calendar long before you need to distribute those messages. Holidays, awards, special occasions, you know when these are coming, so plan ahead and communicate with excellence.
Perfect Your Pitch
The perfect pitch is a well-tuned combination of content and timing. You need the right message conveyed through the right channels at the right time. This requires advance planning and targeted research. You need to read periodicals, blogs, and social media posts related to your audience. Discover what they’re thinking about and talking about. Learn the questions they’re asking, then answer those questions.
One of the worst things you can do when trying to build trust either with an audience or with a journalist, is to make a splash then ghost. You need to be disciplined and consistent, so you meet their expectations. Your audience, be they consumers or opinion makers, may never tell you what they expect or when, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have expectations. Meet deadlines, respond quickly, be there when they need you, and they will come to depend on you.