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Public Relations Advice and Tips for Businesses

Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce

Holiday Inn Clinton

March 2, 2016 

What is Public Relations?

  • Public Relations = Publicity
  • Getting your company and its products or services in the press in a positive way.
  • PR should be one of the many tools you use in your marketing toolkit on a regular basis.

Why should you use Public Relations?

  • Unless you are a Fortune 500 company, chances are that you do not have an unlimited marketing budget.
  • Publicity, if you do it yourself, is free, but you must consider the cost of spending your time on PR.
  • The goal of your PR efforts should be repetition and consistency – get your company name in front of potential customers on a regular basis so they remember you.
  • Even if you hire someone, it’s potentially far more cost-effective than advertising – when it’s done right!

Why is Public Relations Effective?

  • Every time your company is in the press in a positive way you are subconsciously being endorsed by a trusted 3rd party.
  • In a marketplace saturated with advertising, we tend to give greater weight to those media outlets we trust.
  • Just one media placement has the potential to spread like wildfire through social media.

How can I get press coverage that will benefit my company?

  • Your first question should be, how does my product or service affect people? If you can answer this question in a compelling way, you are home free.

Not every company is going to change people’s lives, but you can still get publicity.

  • Good Deeds = Good PR: Publicize volunteer and philanthropic activities. The press are particularly interested in stories that involve children.
  • Are there seasonal opportunities that could result in press for your business? Look for opportunities to educate on seasonal issues: write educational articles, host seminars, etc.
  • Do you want to be recognized as an expert? Can you write an article about an issue or trend in your industry?
  • Success stories: Is there a customer you helped that would make for an interesting story?
  • Are there any human interest stories that are relevant to your business? What is the story behind your business?
  • Get recognized: Get an award, serve on a board and send out a press release.

If you seek out press on your own:

  • Keep it simple: remember the 5 Ws – who, what, when, where and why. Never overstate things – be objective – don’t make it seem like you have invented the wheel!
  • Remember that reporters and editors are very busy people and they are most likely to print your article if it is error free – write in short concise sentences, check all of your facts, review spelling and grammar, triple check the press release for mistakes. Your best chance for success is to make the journalist’s job easy.
  • Give your article an interesting headline (title) and subject line if sending by email.
  • Include a photo – a picture is worth a thousand words! If your article doesn’t get published, maybe the photo will. Make sure the photo is good quality, but try to keep the size below 1MB if sending by email. There’s nothing reporters hate more than having their email systems clogged with large, unsolicited files!
  • Are you promoting an event? Is it free? You are more likely to get coverage if there is no cost involved. Always get your press release to reporters at least two weeks before your event if not more.
  • Don’t forget to include your contact information.

Do some research:

  • What are the media outlets your potential customers are likely to use for their news? Find out how you can submit press releases and photos.
  • Do any of the media outlets you are interested in have opportunities to “self publish”? Anyone can publish business-oriented press releases on NJ.com – as long as they have some substance and are well written. Visit www.nj.com/business/ and click on post business press releases. Also consider publishing on www.Patch.com, www.TAPinto.net and www.newjerseyhills.com – just to name a few.
  • In Hunterdon County alone, we have The Star-Ledger, Courier News, The Express Times, Hunterdon Democrat, Hunterdon Observer, Hunterdon Review and their various websites. Don’t forget the Chamber newsletter and radio programs as well as www.thehunterdoncountynews.com and other media outlets that cover just select parts of the county.


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