This weekend I attended the yearly West Berkshire Business Awards Ceremony, where over 200 guests enjoyed an evening of celebration with local businesses that had put themselves forward to win an award.

As a committee member for most part of the evening I was ‘on duty’ which meant that my mind did have time to wander a bit on all of the activities that I needed to accomplish ‘post’ event, and it got me thinking, I wonder how many of the businesses in the room had actually put in any thought at all about maximising the PR an awards ceremony can produce (even if you’re not the overall winner!)

My guess was not many of them, now there’s a missed opportunity.

So what can you do to make sure when these events happen in your business life, you are ‘at the ready’. Go through these 7 steps to make sure you are prepared.

  1. Create some consistent Messages To help build brand awareness, credibility and consistency put together the list of key messages that you want to get across at every opportunity. Write them in a paragraph (that can be inserted at the end of a Press Release) and also as key sentences that you can take with you if you are being interviewed.
  2. Have a media toolkit This should include the biographies of any of your key personnel, with up-to-date photos of them (really get professional ones – it makes a huge difference) Also a copy of every logo type that you might need, and other photos that could contribute to telling a story. Have them all at the ready
  3. Have a policy in place for proactive stories Write out the process that you go through when launching a proactive piece of PR. Know the contacts you can send the story to, have a predefined online process as well, so that you know what social media you can share the story through and at what time intervals.
  4. Have a policy in place for reactive stories This will be different from a proactive release, but could be the difference required from turning bad press into good press.
  5. Know your audience and the press they read You’ll want your stories to appear in the correct trade magazines and newspapers. Know which ones make an impact on your clients and start getting to know the journalists well, get it right and they will soon start courting you for newsworthy content
  6. Use Photography These days news is not news without images. Do yourself a favour and get to know a local photographer that can initially take some photos of your staff and some ‘stock’ photography of your business. Keep on friendly terms with them so that you can approach them for any press opportunities. Do not just leave it to a mobile phone to capture the shot, its just not good enough.
  7. Post PR Activity Identify what action it is that you want potential visitors to do if after they see the Press Release they do actually contact you, either through the website or in person. Have the content and process already mapped out and in place. This could be promotional videos or materials, or specific vouchers. Whatever it is maximise the full potential of any leads that come your way.

Press coverage can really accelerate brand awareness and should not be left out of your overall plan, a while ago we put together a list of Press Release ideas that are still valid to day – you can see the list here and take a look at these two links as a starting point for local coverage

  1. The Newspaper Society Website : find out local contact details
  2. The Radio Now website

Now back to my day, where I’ll follow my own PR policy….now where’s my media contact list gone….