Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. As a highly sought-after speaker in the wedding industry, she is the exclusive Wedding PR Education Expert for WeddingWire as well as the national Communications and Marketing Director for WIPA. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you, as well as more about our new wedding PR kits, please visit us today.
It’s a fact – couples spend a great deal of their time planning their weddings online which is all the more reason you will focus quite a bit of your PR strategies there. With that being said, there are still a number of offline PR opportunities that may still be a great fit for your company, including:
- Radio and podcasts
- TV features and interviews
- Print magazines
- Speaking engagements
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – PR takes time, as well as quite a bit of effort, but the rewards can be well worth it. That’s not to say, however, that you should jump on every strategy that comes to mind. Now is the time to qualify each to ensure your time is spent wisely. Ask yourself:
Does this fit into the overall goals for my company?
You should be revisiting your company goals at least one to two times a year. Goals help create a road map for success and assist you with selecting marketing and promotional strategies.
If you would like to continue to increase brand awareness for your company locally, for example, then it would make sense to pursue area radio and TV interviews opportunities. It may not make sense, however, to seek out industry conference speaking engagements unless you can find ways to create alternative revenue streams from it.
In short, don’t suddenly jump on new offline PR opportunities if it doesn’t fall in line with the direction of your company.
Does this match my skill set?
If you don’t like to speak publicly, then speaking engagements, television and perhaps even radio may not be for you. If you don’t care for writing or aren’t a particularly strong writer yourself, then seeking out a column in an area magazine won’t be in your best interest. If you’re looking to pursue particular offline PR options, then you need to be honest with yourself in terms of what talents you bring to the table. And remember, not all hope is lost – there are plenty of great resources out there (media coaching, writing classes, etc.) that can help elevate your talents.
Will this reach my targeted audience?
To me, this is the most important question you should be asking yourself. Public relations is about creating a message about your company and then disseminating it through the appropriate channels to reach your targeted audience.
So if the local morning show wants you to come in and discuss wedding trends – that’s great, but are engaged couples really at home at 10 a.m. on a weekday to see you? That’s not to say there aren’t other benefits to doing the spot, but making sure you are uncovering them before you say yes.
Once you’ve selected the offline PR opportunities you’d like to pursue, it’s now time to dig in. Whether you hope to do more podcasts, or be featured more regularly in print, you’ll want to follow the same steps you would for online PR:
- Research opportunities available to you and study their submission guidelines, if available
- Review the content currently being covered by your top spots and ask yourself what you can bring to the table. Remember: you should be offering fresh and inspiring stories that complement what they are currently featuring.
- Find the right contact to pitch – whether it’s an editor, freelance writer or TV producer, and be sure to grab their current email address.
- Begin crafting and sending pitches, remembering to write each person an email tailored specifically to them.
- Follow up when appropriate and record all responses (or non responses!) to ensure you don’t pitch the same topic to competing outlets.
And at the end of the day, don’t forget to track your efforts. In order to deem a strategy a success, you need to determine on investment. Be sure to review your website analytics regularly, as well as to ask all prospects how they heard about you. Keep in mind that not all PR wins lead directly to new clients but if it opens up new doors and other great opportunities, it can still be a cause for celebration.