Online vs Offline PR

prPR can be a valuable and effective part of any company’s marketing and for you as a Scottish tech innovator could help raise awareness and build credibility for your start up. It’s a great way to get your business noticed, but as a promotional tool, it often gets forgotten about today.  In the good old days, PR Ladies (yes, for some reason, they were typically ladies) would buzz around getting stories out to newspapers and publications over lunch and glasses of fizz. But those days are pretty much over. PR today isn’t quite as glamorous a career as it used to be with everyone and their dog potentially having access to newspaper, TV and magazine editors. In fact, all you need is a great story, impeccable timing and a whole lot of luck.

To succeed with your own PR campaigns, the most important thing that you need is a great story. The bottom line is that to have any chance of success, your message must be newsworthy, current and appealing to the readership of your target publication. If you’re going to attempt to run your own PR campaign, it’s important not to be tempted to just blast the market with the same message. If you take time to target your message to each readership you’re trying to get published with, you’ll stand a much better chance of success.

When it comes to deciding who to send your messages to, it’s also important to choose your targeted publications for a reason; to start small and to build up. A top tip is to make mistakes with the minnows, not the mammoths.  Presenting something that fits on one side of A4 is also a good idea and including an eye-catching photo will make life very easy for the recipient.  Another thing to bear in mind is the need to be objective. Before you send a PR piece, ask yourself: if you were a journalist, would you print it?

When it comes to choosing between online and offline PR, to be honest, both play a valuable role in today’s busy world of communication and which you decide upon will depend on your network and who’s running your PR campaign. One thing you must accept when you get involved in PR is that there are no guarantees and that unless you have major news – such as £million investment, huge profits or lots of new jobs on offer, you’re probably not very likely to get into mainstream newsprint. Having said that, exciting new technology companies presenting themselves creatively or in an interesting light makes for a great ‘angle’ and will certainly help you get noticed.

Specialist industry publications can be a great target for getting your PR published, so when you’re reading your favourite industry rag, it pays to be mindful of opportunities to sniff out any story that you might be able to share to get attention. When it comes to writing your piece, if you’re no wordsmith, it’s worth admitting that to yourself and getting a professional on the case. There are plenty of freelance copywriters and PR folk that will help you for a relatively small fee (if you shop around) and often this is an investment that’s often well worth making.

And once you’ve identified your publication and written your PR piece, it’s time to send it to the editor. When you do so, it’s well worth going the extra mile to follow it up with a phone call so you have the chance of striking up a relationship with the decision-maker.

So, coming back to the original question about online versus offline PR, there really isn’t one that’s necessarily better than the other.  That said, the one thing that’s well worth bearing in mind however is that if you’re going to get published, you’ll often be able to get published online and offline by the same organisation.  However, don’t necessarily assume this to be a bonus, because once your piece is online it’s probably there forever, or at least for many years.  So, while that may sound like a major PR scoop at this moment in time, do bear in mind that that can be a good and a bad thing; so think carefully before putting pen to paper. Oh! And, one last thought, don’t forget to promote your PR through social media and your website.

About the Author

Ross McLennan

Want to chat? Ross is one of the Commercialisation Advisers for ICS Ltd and is passionate about  helping entrepreneurs try and turn their good ideas into great companies. Contact Ross here or you can also connect with Ross on LinkedIn and Twitter.

If you’re interested in finding out more, or discussing the benefits of incubation to your Scottish tech innovation, why not why not REGISTER TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION by emailing advice@innovationcentre.org?  We have a team of Commercialisation Advisers ready and waiting to help you make sure your tech start-up gets all the incubation support it deserves.

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