Recall your last vacation. Your face gleamed with excitement as you scheduled your flight or rental car arrangements. You probably reviewed your itinerary countless times to make sure that you didn’t forget that 9AM flight or else your entire day was going to be thrown off course. You have wonderful activities planned, like snorkeling or spa treatments, and you can’t wait to leave for your trip. When you return, you feel rejuvenated and can’t wait to share your experiences with friends. You immediately begin planning your next trip. With the drudgery of running a small business, owners often forget to offer the same service to their own businesses.
In a society where small businesses out number the larger corporations, competition is inevitable. Long gone are the days when an advertisement was the sole directory for reaching a massive number of consumers while the salesman went door-to-door offering his products and services. Back then, that one advertisement practically guaranteed the sale. Today, consumers are more sophisticated and are using various channels to seek information. Therefore, you have to be more creative when getting the attention of consumers. You should plan a public relations campaign that requires taking your business on a TRIP (Television, Radio, Internet, Print) for free publicity opportunities– Hence, the acronym.
Here are six tips to make sure that your TRIP is a success:
- Planning Your TRIP is Exciting
If you are planning or considering a public relations campaign, your journey has just begun. This should be an exciting time for your business. Tip: Get a map of the area you plan to target. It should mimic the geographical area of your target market. Figure out where your consumers are and what media outlets (i.e. Television, Radio, Internet, and Print) they use to get their source of information. Do they rely on all four sources of media, or do they prefer one format to another?
- You’re the Travel Agent for your TRIP
Figure out what vehicles you will need to reach to your consumers to make your public relations campaign is a success. What’s your goal? How are you going to get there? Are you going to travel by car, train, bus, or airplane? Or can you even travel at all? Determine whether you are going to use your company’s press release or a simple media interview request to reach your market. Be sure to allocate your schedule and budget appropriately. Time and budget constraints can limit your availability to be interviewed by the media.
- Gather Information
Nielsen and Arbitron are great sources for determining the top television and radio markets respectively particularly if you have a small budget. Once you figure out what media outlets you want to use to contact your consumers, you should make a list. Go to their websites to find out: the outlets contact information, who you would need to contact, and how your product or service will fit into their format. Do they have a morning show that interviews guests? Does a newspaper have a particular column where they can mention your product or service? Subscription services such as Cision and Vocus conveniently provide you with this type of information within minutes, as well as appropriate media contacts, but they are for companies with larger budgets.
- Prepare for your Wonderful Journey
With your extensive list of media outlets and contacts, it’s time to contact them. Get them on the phone and/or send them an email. Share with your contact that you are interested in being interviewed by them and how your product or services fits with their audience. Tip: Media outlets want to be able to cover stories that impact their viewership or readership only. Once your interview is confirmed, prepare what you are going to say during your interview. Draft some frequently asked questioned that you would like for the interviewer to ask and send them over to your contact. The same way you practiced your answers for your first job interview is how you should prepare for your interview. If you are not sure what to say, then hire a public relations consultant who can train and help you cultivate your answers without blundering through them.
- Hit the Road!
And the moment you’ve been waiting for…It’s time to take your TRIP on the road. You have worked hard to plan your public relations campaign. Don’t forget to review your itinerary. Be sure to review the answers to your frequently asked questions and leave your business card with your contacts in case they have other questions.
- Endless Information Highways
The trip doesn’t have to end even though you have given your final scheduled media interview. Instead begin planning your next TRIP…Try to schedule interviews with those outlets that you were not able to reach previously. Good luck!
About the Author:
Bonyetta Brison Kitts is the president of The Brison Group, a public relations and marketing firm in Atlanta, GA. She has over 10 years experience consulting small businesses in the sports, professional services, entertainment, food, and non-profit industries. She may be reached at (404) 829-3430 or firstname.lastname@example.org.