How to PR non-product brands
In a dream world, all clients that walk through the door will be established, a leader in their industry and have shed loads of products to PR to authoritative sites. But this is not always the case and some clients that we have on our roster sell a service rather a product, or addressing businesses rather than consumers. With these types of clients, using digital PR as part of their SEO tactic can feel impossible, but it isn’t!
How to PR for Non product brands that gain as many links as a well-known high street brand is possible. Here’s how to start:
Look at the company
This might sound like an obvious first step, but ensuring that you have to know the ins and outs of the company is crucial. What can you take from the company that can be turned into a PR story is vital for your plan. In the developing stages, ask questions around how much and how often the company release information to the public and in what form, i.e. an infographic, video and/or report. This will give you more ideas in how you can chop up the information supplied and create mini PR stories with each bite size of intelligence. If the company release information on a national or global scale, you can start looking at approaching regional sites and giving them something relevant to feature. Remember, relevancy is key.
The people that make up the company are a key feature to your Digital PR plan. They will not only be able to give you insight into the department’s they work in, but they can be great for interviews, providing commentary that can be tied back into the brand. Knowing the people that are willing to give regular comment and be involved in pushing the brand online is a major asset.
Get to know a sign off process to ensure all information and comments that leave the business has been signed by someone higher up in the marketing chain. This will make the process from talking to the journalist, gaining the comment and sign off more straight forward.
Sometimes when PRing a non-product brand or a B2B company, you run the risk of PRing to their competitors. Instead of looking at the industry or focusing your PR to a few industry titles, expand the brand’s digital PR opportunity by taking pieces from the brand and selling into various sites.
If you are working on a client that focuses on businesses and business owners, look at what stories appeal to them and relate any news and information you receive from the client back to its audience. Remember to sell in a story that will be interesting to the journalist and detail how it will affect the audience is a much stronger story than telling of how well the company is doing in its industry.
With non- product brands, selling in the service to a site is much harder than selling a piece of cut out imagery to a consumer title. The Digital PR around the brand and its service has to be smarter, newsworthy and always different. When a service never changes, it’s harder to keep the brand and an angle always relevant.
Look at how the service is changing the industry it is in. What kind of people are using the service and has it affected the end user? These types of questions are great in developing stories for ‘product’ that doesn’t necessarily change with the times. It comes back to the data and how it can work for your Digital PR plan. For example: if an increase of business owners are using a cloud network system in Asia, what does that say about remote working in Asia or on-line safety in businesses?
Look at angles that the client can relate to
Having a number of angles up your sleeve is key to a continuous successful PR plan. Try and plan two PR angles that give a balance between business and PR worthy. Not everything you sell in that is surrounded by the brand will be picked up by authoritive sites so make sure you have a PR story that can be picked up by those influential sites.
Find out what the highly influential titles are talking about and how it can relate back to the brand. If there is a big focus on women in business, start-ups or news around the general election it should be considered when looking for topical news to sell in. The client can be related back through a comment, some data or how their business has been affected by the topical news of the day. Do make sure that it is relevant.
What is Original?
Looking for Digital PR stories that will make them stick out from the rest is crucial when you are competing for the journalist’s time. Try and keep the plans original but also on trend. For example: if the stories you are seeing are ’10 ways of getting the job of your dreams’ try pitching the story: ‘The ten big no no’s on achieving Career Bliss’.
Flipping a Digital PR Story on its head and giving it a total new look will have a better chance of being picked up. Speak to the digital editors and see what interests them and how they want to see a guide or comment to look like and you can fix your brand’s PR around it. This will ensure your Digital PR will be original, topical and more importantly, relevant to the brand.
How to create the plan
List building and outreach should be continuous during all promotional work. Look at the obvious industry titles but also look at consumer and newspaper sites. Find out if they have a section that can be sold into and if they feature topics than are aligned with your PR angles for your client. The high authoritative sites generally report on broader topics, so make sure you add these to your little black book for the more general PR pitches.
Plan editorial calendar along with in-house and agency marketing calendars
To take advantage of topical stories as and when they happen, plan ahead. Look at events and key dates that would affect the end use of the brand’s service and add them to your calendar. You don’t need to plan a big PR story to sell in, but it might be worth touching base with your digital journalists to see if they are planning to feature anything around these stories. Make sure your Digital PR coincides with regular reports that are released from the company and key dates from their marketing calendar.
Also look at what the SEO and Content department are working on through these months and ensure you have a plan for this also.
The final check list:
Who does this story appeal to? It needs to appeal to the audience as well as the journalist. Could they be the end buyer to the brand you are pushing?
Where this story would be featured? The story or the theme of your PR angle should be sold into the publications that have featured similar (but not the same) stories.
Does the sites I am selling into cite links? The most important reason why digital PR is used is to gain those vital links, make sure when building your list and selling into these sites they feature the links to the brands or companies mentioned.