All PR is good PR. Maybe. And any PR is a start. Even the cookie cutter approach of submitting a press release to a wire service and waiting for it to generate pick-up can have some benefit. However, smart brands need to be more proactive than that. You shouldn’t rely on a press release to generate buzz in this competitive media landscape where me-too products are being introduced daily. Here are a few PR strategies often neglected by early stage companies.
1. Communicate with the Trades
Reaching for the stars is great. Try to get on the Today show, it will do your brand good. In the meantime, though, stay top of mind by staying in the trades.
Trade publications such as this one are respected and read by the buyers making decisions at the retail level. Read them to know what your competitors are circulating and what retailers are trying to achieve.
Related: Building Buzz the Vintage Way
2. Leverage Industry Conferences for Press
Ninety-percent of the work that goes into a trade show should happen before you set foot on the show floor; it’s a year-round effort. Media relations needs to be a focal point for trade show success.
3. Start Reaching Out to Local Media Before National
Most trends start in the major metropolitan areas and then spread to other markets. Start by owning your own backyard and you can soon take a brand from local obscurity to mainstream consciousness.
4. Back Your Retailers
Support your brand’s member stores, spas or salons before expecting they will support you. Mass merchants take on brands that are successful in independents. A PR push will make your brand even more successful and retailers will see you are supporting them.
5. Create Notable Brand Fans
Seed products to celebrities that you know you can reach because you have a strong ideological or real-world connection. It’s not what you say about your brand that counts. It’s what other people say.
Perception is often more important than reality, and celebrities are perceived to be experts. Seeding products to them anyway you can, whether directly or through gift bags and events, will help get them in the right hands.
Getting celebrity connections is the first step. Working them for press coverage is a skill.
6. Have an Expert on Board
You don’t need to have a paid spokesperson but you do need someone other people trust to answer questions about why your brand is better than others.
Fake It ‘til You Make It
Try these low budget, big brand PR tactics and you might just be able to fake it ‘til you make it.
Nancy Trent (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a writer and speaker, a lifelong health advocate, a globe-trotting trend watcher, and the founder and president of Trent & Company, a New York-based marketing communications firm with an office in Los Angeles and New York City. Trent & Company, which launched many fitness brands, grew out of Trent’s personal commitment to helping people live longer and healthier lives. A former journalist for New York Magazine, Nancy has written seven books on healthy lifestyles, serves on the editorial boards of several magazines and travels around the world speaking at conferences and trade shows on trends in the marketplace. She is a recognized expert in PR with more than 30 years of experience creating and managing highly successful campaigns.