Marketing and communications are some of the first areas that typically see budgets reduced or wiped out completely when spending needs to be cut. However, here at Life Size we’re big believers that communications and business success go hand-in-hand. In fact, we’ve already shown that high-quality media attention can support global growth. That’s why we thought we’d offer guidance for making sure you run effective PR campaigns on a limited budget.
Short-term thinking impacts long-term success
If you don’t promote yourself externally, then nobody outside of your existing network will know who you are. So, reducing your external communications, or stopping them altogether, will hinder your ability to reach and attract potential new customers. This means that your business won’t be able to grow as quickly as you’d planned for, potentially putting off investors.
Cutting back on your PR budget will also mean that you’ll be starting from scratch when it comes to brand recognition once business picks up again. This will make it incredibly difficult to catch the attention of mainstream titles, which are the ones that all people want to see their business in despite it not being so simple.
Any successful campaign needs a strategy
No matter your PR budget, you need a detailed written strategy to run an effective PR campaign. Otherwise, you’ll be your wasting precious time and limited resources. So before you start, you should identify what you are hoping to achieve from PR and who you’re trying to reach.
Similarly to buyer personas in content marketing, you should know which audiences you’re trying to speak to with PR. Ideally, you need a clear idea of what interests them and where they are likely to find their news.Do they consume their news online, through social media or more traditionally in newspaper and magazines? Which publications do they read or subscribe to? Which social media channels do they use and engage with? Knowing the answers to as many of these questions as possible at the beginning of a PR campaign will save you time and effort in the long run.
Start with the basics
Any PR campaign needs solid foundations in place to be a success. Get the basics right by making sure your media kit contains everything a journalist may ask you for, such as biographies and headshots of your key senior staff and images of your projects and technology. Having this readily and easily available will save you time and having to scramble around looking for them if you’re asked for them and not prepared.
You should also build a company news calendar for the next six months (at least!), so you know when you’ll have something important to announce. Knowing as far in advance as possible will help you plan the distribution of your news into your busy schedule and mean you have greater success of picking up coverage.
Utilise external tools and internal expertise
Once you have the basics in place, you should then move onto more strategic PR activities. One thing we do with all of our PR clients is to create soundbites, which can be a time-consuming task at first as it usually involves several calls and multiple versions of a document before getting to a final version. However, having this pre-approved commentary helps us to quickly and flexibly react to industry news and enables us to showcase our clients’ expertise to journalists easily.
There are also many inexpensive or free PR tools out there that can help you run an effective PR campaign on a budget. Make sure that you’re signed up to receive both Google Alerts and Talkwalker Alerts for a start. As well as searching for our clients’ names, we also create searches related to their technologies so we can easily see what journalists and publications are writing about their areas of business.
Newsletters are also a great way of keeping up with industry news. Cleantech-focused publications we recommend signing up for include BusinessGreen, Bloomberg Green and Carbon Brief.
ResponseSource’s Journalist Enquiry Service is a useful tool for being alerted to when journalists need help with an article and we’ve had many quick and easy wins for our clients using the service. It’s relatively cheap, though if your PR budget can’t stretch that far then an alternative is following the #journorequest hashtag on Twitter, where journalists often call out for potential interviewees or assistance with articles.