I spoke Monday night to the Association of Independent Consultants on Do-it-yourself PR. First I quoted a professional public relations practitioner saying Step One in any PR strategy is to hire a PR practitioner (No wonder, I said, consultants have an image problem).
There's nothing wrong with professional PR practitioners, but if cost is a concern, you can do your own. At any rate, it’s a good way to learn the field during the point in your life (could be years!) when you have more time than money.
So here, much condensed, is the 10-point plan I set out for entrepreneurs interested in doing their own publicity. If you want to know a bit more on any single topic, please leave a comment at the end.
Step 1. Understand what “news” means. It’s not what you want to say. It’s what people want to hear about, read about, talk about.
2. Identify your motives. Why are you seeking press attention? Be honest with yourself.
3. Identify your target market(s). Your media strategy depends on the markets you wish to influence.
4. Identify the message(s) you want to communicate. Each market deserves its own message.
5. Identify the best media to reach your target audience. Where your audience is, you want to be.
6. Get to know those media and their needs, to help you identify the most effective way to communicate with them. (This is the step most often left out, even by communication professionals.)
7. Speak the language of the media. Media thrive on passion, on conflict, on evidence and on anecdotes.
8. Maintain a vigorous, pro-active campaign to get your message across. Keep up the pressure, stay in touch.
9. Make effective use of the attention you get. The spinoff benefits may be more important than the original media impact.
10. Make your own media. Opportunities abound in websites, newsletters, blogs – and the new electronic communities they beget.
The presentation got a great response. One attendee has already recommended me to speak at another association. With the referral he wrote this: “I've spent the day building articles about myself to feed a mini-public relations machine, to improve my visibility and to open doors. Surely anyone who can wean me away from 35 years of passionate programming is worth listening to.”
And thanks to Darla for manning the projector when the remote control wouldn’t work.