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5 Key Things You Need Before Launching a PR Campaign

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You’ve worked with your internal team or a PR agency to create a clear marketing strategy. You have your list of dream media outlets. You identified your customer persona and the media they consume. However, beyond these big-picture elements, there are still more granular details that need to be addressed. These little things can make or break your chances of coverage but can be easy to miss during the excitement of launching your first campaign.

A savvy PR campaign can be a powerful driver of brand awareness for your company. Here are five basic things to secure before it launches to prepare yourself for success.

1. Branded photography

Imagery that speaks to your offerings is particularly important if you’re selling a product since journalists and editors will look for a high-resolution photo to feature in print, digital or on the air.

Although you can provide some environmental shots, it’s most important to send images showing the full product (with no edges cropped off) on a plain white background. This allows for consistency with other product shots if the journalist is creating a digital list — or allows their design team to easily cut out a product for a print feature.

If your PR campaign is focused on you as an expert rather than a specific product line, provide professional headshots of yourself. These will go on your “About” page (more on that shortly), social media platforms and beyond to contribute to your trusted expert status. They may also be requested for digital articles and podcasts. Having one consistent headshot across platforms can help you gain recognizability.

Related: How to Prepare for a Personal Branding Photoshoot Like a Pro (and Why It Matters)

2. “About” and “Press Room” pages

Make sure you or your company has a strong “About” page that clearly states your mission and credentials. If you’re being quoted as an expert in a digital piece, the journalist will link to this when they first mention your name.

This is also the place to think about leading new audiences through the marketing funnel. For instance, if someone reads an article and clicks through to your “About” page, provide your credentials, offerings and a form to sign up for your newsletter on that page. From there, you can nurture that lead toward conversion.

Your “Press Page” is also key. This landing page on your website houses your recent company news, media coverage and media contacts (who a journalist should contact if they want to interview you).

Even if you only have internal company news releases or a few podcast guest appearances to share, this page is important to set up. It signals to the media that you’re ready to be interviewed as an expert and makes it easier for journalists to contact you.

3. Designated experts and titles

Determine who will be speaking on behalf of your company, whether that’s you or another spokesperson. Your designated expert should have solid credentials, whether they’re based on accreditations, licenses or industry-specific accomplishments. This is the most important element that a journalist or producer considers when choosing an expert to feature.

Your chosen title can also set the stage for your future PR and marketing goals. For instance, if you’d like to get more bookings as a speaker, make sure your title includes “speaker.” Or, if you’re an author with an upcoming book release, ensure your title includes that you’re an author and the name of your book.

A sample title might be Jill James, MD, a gastroenterologist at Belly Company and author of the upcoming book Happy Belly (to be released January 1).

Related: 5 Things Journalists Wish You Knew About Getting Press Coverage for Your Company

4. Topics of expertise

Make a list of the topics you or your company’s experts feel comfortable speaking about. This helps set up profiles on sites like Qwoted, an online network that connects media with experts.

It also makes it easier for you or your PR team to respond to journalist queries on sites like Qwoted or HARO (helpareporter.com), in which requests for specific experts are sent to your inbox daily. For example, if you’re a personal trainer and already know you’re comfortable speaking about running tips, you or your team can more quickly respond to related queries. Journalists working on these queries are often on tight deadlines, so time is of the essence.

Your main PR content pillars should also be represented throughout your social media, website and brand partnership strategies to tell a cohesive story about your thought leadership in the industry.

Likewise, get clear on your “off-limit topics” that you never want to speak about so your team doesn’t waste time pitching the wrong queries.

5. Affiliate links for products

If you want more media coverage for your products, sell them on a common affiliate site like Amazon or Etsy (if possible). Usually, journalists need to choose from a list of affiliates to include in a story, so their media company receives a portion of the sales. Some of the best-known holiday guides require Amazon links only.

It’s ideal to start growing this arm of your business well ahead of time so you have a number of positive reviews when the media considers your product for coverage.

Related: 5 Media Strategies Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know

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