When planning a PR campaign, the best place to start is the finish — what do you want to gain from your outreach? What outcome would be the best for you and your brand?
Your goals might include one or more of the following:
- More customers/sign-ups/sales
- More website views
- Better brand recall
- To inform the public about a launch or new product
- To position a brand as an authority/expert
- To position an individual as an authority/expert
Once you’ve decided what your goals are, you can begin mapping out your PR plan in the right direction. There may often be overlapping goals, and that’s okay. Be sure to consider the following outreach types and their strengths to ensure you’re on the right path and headed toward your goals:
1. Product PR
Product PR is simplest type of publicity. If you’re promoting a product or product line, the easiest way to get it into the hands of journalists quickly is to gather your products, get some high-resolution, flat-lay images together, along with simple, vital selling information (a brief description, pricing, stockists, and website), and put it into a simple pitch, asking if the journalists can feature your product in any upcoming gift, ‘new product’, or category (e.g., hairdressing essentials, gardening essentials) guides.
2. Brand PR
Simply put, brand PR is the publicity that puts your brand in the spotlight. Most brand-related PR isn’t about selling or bringing attention to a product. Instead, it’s about positioning your brand where you want it to be.
If you want, as an example, for your business to be seen as charitable, the best thing to do is create a pitch and a press release or article about the good work your business is doing, the motivations behind the work, and how the public can support that.
Sometimes, you don’t even need to do a release or article—you can simply pitch the details directly to a journalist with the who, what, where, why, and how in the body of your pitch email.
3. Standard PR
Standard PR increases your website views, informs the public about a new business, product or initiative launch, and as a by-product, secures more customers. This type of PR follows a set method: create your angle, develop your release or article, and write your pitch.
Standard PR aims to inform rather than sell, so keep in mind while you’re writing your pitch materials to avoid any ad-copy style of writing.
4. Passive PR
Passive PR exists to fulfill available opportunities in the media without pitching, and often those opportunities come every couple of weeks.
Sign up to a news-source site, such as Help a Reporter Out (known as HARO to the pros) or SourceBottle. Each of these outlets sends out daily emails with opportunities for brands to connect with journalists on the stories they’re building.
Passive PR is something every brand should engage in. It skips the pitching and the campaign design process. Just make sure you’ve got the knowledge the journalist is requesting before putting your name forward to be a source.
5. Trade PR
Trade PR is exactly that — PR that is relevant to a certain trade (or vertical). These verticals are often industries like hairdressing, technology, hospitality, medical, etc. that have dedicated publications for their industries.
Trade should always be included in your outreach, and these publications are often looking for industry-focused stories. When identifying your industry-specific angles, think about the products your company provides and who will be interested in hearing about them. Put together a release or article and pitch it to these publications.
The goal is to watch your wholesale orders increase as you get trade coverage.
6. Thought Leadership
Thought leadership is especially effective in positioning an individual as an authority on a certain topic. Sharing your experiences and how you’ve developed over time, as well as tips and tricks you’ve learned from past experiences, provides a compelling story angle.
Think about your business and the topics it covers. Are you selling a dental product and have knowledge of dentistry? Great! Write an article about how long you really should be brushing your teeth for and why.
Are you a high-ranking executive in digital marketing? Write about your top five digital marketing strategies for success and pitch that story to an outlet as a complete article.
Thought leadership is a great way to build your credibility in your field and increase consumer trust in you and your brand.
You have many different avenues available when it comes to pitching the media. Ideally, you should always have multiple types of outreach running to ensure you’re reaching a suitable spread of outlets and getting the best chance of coverage.
Remember that PR is a great way to boost your credibility, expand your audience, and grow your business. Consider weaving one or more of these PR types into your next PR campaign.
About Krista Bordner
Krista Bordner serves as President of Handle Your PR (HYPR) where she helps small business owners, entrepreneurs and startups leverage PR to boost their credibility, expand their audience, and grow their business. As a PR and communication evangelist for nearly 15 years, Krista is on a mission to make PR accessible to anyone interested in growing their visibility, regardless of a limited skill set or budget constraints. She works with businesses across several industries, including travel, tech, fashion, beauty, hospitality, and more.