Question: What does every single business have in common?
Answer: The task of finding creative and strategic ways to present a product or service to an audience.
Working in the PR industry, I find that one of the most pressing issues is helping a client understand how to effectively reach their potential customers. Sometimes it is easy to gauge what a customer wants. You might know that there is already a need for your product/service or you might get the direction from surveys or focus groups. But, what would you do if the customer could not tell you what they wanted or how they could be reached.
Scenario: You are a company that wants to sell an educational product/service to a 6-year-old. The task is not as simple as it seems. First, you need to find a way to think like a 6-year-old and understand whether or not your product is something they would be interested in. Second, since the 6-year-old will not be making the decision to buy the product, you also have to find a way to appeal to a parent or teacher. Third, you need to find the appropriate outlet/contacts to reach the parents, teachers and children. Finally, your media contacts will act as gatekeepers between you and your target audience. It is just as important, if not more, to find a way to reach out to the media and convince them on why they should be writing about you.
In the past couple of years, social gaming has transformed the classroom into a virtual playground. Remember Oregon Trail ? The computer game was a fun, unique and interactive way for children to learn history. This educational game ended up being successful because the company sought advice and learned how to present a favorable image to both children and adults.
In this situation, the key was finding the appropriate outlet to distribute a release or information about the product. While I do not know the specific route that the makers of Oregon Trail took, I have my own suggestions for contacting media and creating news releases.
- Know who to contact. If you are selling an educational game for six-year olds then you probably would want to contact parents and teachers through media contacts who write in educational trade publications or develop pieces that children, parents and teachers read. This is when it is essential to have the resources to build an effective media contact list.
- Elevate brand awareness on a modest budget. Knowing exactly who to contact and where to send a release about a product can address this. It is just as important to give the media a reason to write about your product, since they serve as the gatekeepers between you and your target audience.
- Distribute a news release highlighting the importance of educating children and finding ways to relate to the children to make learning fun.
- Learn appropriate key words for news releases and email campaigns that will increase searchability.
While there is much more breadth and depth to the strategic works of public relations, knowing where to start is the first and most helpful step. Finding media contacts and writing news releases that sell your business are the building blocks for the rest of your campaign.
Additional resources on how to take that first step:
10 Ways to Make a Press Release More SEO Friendly, via Mashable