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Basic PR Tips For Entrepreneurs, Start-ups and SMBs

I am getting enquiries from entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMBs on engaging me for PR services lately. So what better way to start the new year with a few basic PR tips.

However, before I continue, it is very important to remember that PR stands for Public Relations, not Press Relations. PR isn’t just about getting the press to know about you, but your stakeholders to be aware of your brand or the person behind the brand.

You engage the media because you are looking for a third party write-up of your brand and seeking their medium to reach out to the greater audience. Engaging media is called media relations and I will touch on that in another post.

However, with Web2.0, everybody is media so it is as important to return the public to Public Relations.

Tip 1: Appoint your spokesperson early

Human nature usually encourages humans to support other humans. As such, choose a spokesperson for the brand as soon as you decide to go on a PR campaign.

The designated spokesperson will be the go-to-person for any interviews, from media or the public. It can be the founder or the CEO, but start early on the spokesperson.

If the spokesperson is not capable of answering the question, let the spokesperson introduce the other party to provide the public with the answers.

Most importantly, the spokesperson should also start building his/her profile online, be it a blog, or even a LinkedIn account. This helps the public to search for your spokesperson online.

From my experience, the online profile is even more important because the journalists also uses the Internet to search for information and their readers also go online to search for the company after reading about them in the media.

I have seen MNcs struggling to find the right spokesperson to answer a simple question when media come asking for quote. The delay can result in valuable missed opportunities.

With the Web2.0 generation, the lack of a spokesperson will make it even harder for them to relate to this new brand.

You wouldn’t want your brand to be seen as headed by an anonymous robot, but if your spokesperson is rumoured to be a cyborg, that’s a PR coup in its own.

Tip 2: Go take a make-over shot of your spokesperson

After the spokesperson have been selected, go spend a few hundred dollars (less than SGD200 is possible) to take a make-over shot of your spokesperson.

Choose between casual shots behind the work desk or professional poses.

After you have taken a shot, get your PR folks to prepare a low res (<70dpi) and a high res photo (>300dpi) in a shared folder and make sure they are available when requested.  The low res photo is for online while the high res photo is for print.

Photos help to bring text to life and it provide the public an instant view of your spokesperson.

One the common photos that some spokesperson have given me are their photos made for application of their passports.

Passport photos are for immigration officers to identify you as a non-threat to the country security. You usually can’t smile in your passport photos as it is seen as a way to trick immigration officers as you being nice person.

Plus the blue (white, green in some countries) space between your forehead and you the top border makes for bad imagery on print or online.

Spend a few hundred dollars to make your spokesperson and your brand look a million bucks. That’s bringing value to your audience right?

Tip 3: Think of your brand’s over-arching message and supporting three pillars

Some media question can put one in a spot. The over-aching message can help you get out of the spot or more importantly, something to talk about if you get tongue tied.

The over-aching message can be created to look at how your solution look to solve a problem, provide you invented the solution to solve a need or a want.

The supporting pillars help you back up your key message. Three will also help you come up with story angles or engage the media with a different view when a question is asked.

Give some time to think about your messaging. Make sure you and your shareholders are comfortable with it.

These three tips should get you started on your PR campaign. The next in series is understanding the media and how to get into them as a story.


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