The PR Guru

October 1, 2009

What’s the secret then?

Like many PR agencies in Stoke-on-Trent (and probably the world), we are often asked what the key to getting great media coverage is.

There’s only one answer – persistence! Oh and having good media contacts. And the ability to write a press release. So there are three answers. Actually there are four answers because you need to know what makes a good story as well 🙂

(Apologies to Monty Python for the merciless rip off of ‘What have the Romans ever done for us?’)

Persistence is the key though in all honesty. You could have all of the other answers, and still not get anywhere without the determination to get that coverage.

The ultimate goal of any PR campaign has got to be getting a good spread in your local rag, or the top magazine in your trade (usually a good spread would constitute at least a page). Or it could mean a good interview on the radio or on the telly, with your biggest local station.

Ideally this needs to happen on a regular basis in the same publication (or radio station or whatever) – it helps you generate momentum and, in time, name recognition.

That’s what we all want because people like to buy from people they know.

Sadly this will not be achieved by getting a small three or four paragraph article hidden away in the corner of the page. It’s only real saddos like me who scour every newspaper and magazine – your customers and prospects are unlikely to do the same.

It’s pretty easy to organise small coverage like that, but since you’re not really interested in it, you need to get to know your target media title. Or more precisely what they like to use, and what they’re planning to use.

And you need to get to know the editor/producer.

Let me give you an example. This summer, Hanley Park in Stoke-on-Trent hosted the 2nd Six Towns One City Carnival. It was a great success and attracted between 15 and 20,000 people, depending on who you believe 🙂

For three months in the run-up to the event, we organised articles in The Sentinel, our local paper, and interviews on Radio Stoke and Cross Rhythms, two of our local radio stations.

We’d had limited success, mainly getting the filler articles – those small pieces I mentioned earlier – into the paper.

At the same time, we’d been speaking to The Sentinel‘s Feature Editor on a regular basis. It was worth the effort. Two days before the Carnival we got a massive spread in the What’s On section of the paper.

It was this, along with numerous plugs on Radio Stoke and Signal Radio (another local station) on the day, which helped bring a record number of punters through the gates.

So to have any chance of getting the coverage you need, you’ve got to be prepared to spend some time on your PR. But if you do that, you can succeed and without spending any of your hard-earned on someone like me!

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