If you are sitting and waiting for new clients to knock on your door, then you are in for a long wait. As with any business you need to make yourself known, let people know you are there and generate more customers. At the end of the day the crux of any business is to generate new client leads. As well as bringing in the money, new clients’ help a business develop, improve and remain competitive.
To get you started, here’s a list of things you can try to get your company name out there:
Word of mouth
- Word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertising. People are more likely to use a company who has been recommended to them by family or friends
- Email all your friends and family about your business and ask them to spread the word
- Get feedback from existing clients
- Get in contact with existing clients about any new services/products you have
- Contact existing clients who you haven’t heard from in a while and see whether they need your services/products – never forget the clients you already have
- Ask your clients for referrals
- Send out promotions with your invoices
- Research businesses you would like to target and cold call them
- Send promotional material to potential clients
- Attend industry events, conferences and exhibitions
- Go to events in your clients industry
- Carry out a talk, seminar or webinar
- Sponsor an event
- Do some work for a charitable organisation that has links to your clients industry
- Always be ready to tell people what you do and have your business card ready
Promotion, promotion, promotion!
- Place an ad in relevant publications
- Set up Google Adwords
- Get listed in printed and online business directories
- Take part in a trade show
- Give away branded merchandise
- Carry out a direct mail campaign
- Create leaflets and posters that you can distribute and display
Let the media work for you…
- Send a press release to relevant media (local, national, industry specific) about a new product/service
- Get mentioned on a local or national radio show
- Do something ‘quirky’ that will get your business noticed (publicity stunt)
- Pitch an article to a relevant publication
Get a website!
- A website is the most effective way to reach more potential customers
- A website has no word or space restrictions, unlike traditional advertising. Say what you want to say, without the limitations
- A website helps your business stand out in an increasingly competitive market
- Reduce your advertising costs by putting ‘see our website for more information’
- A website never sleeps, and will continue serving your customers even after you have gone to bed!
- Use SEO techniques to help search engines find your site
Use the web
- Start a blog
- Participate in online forums
- Register with social networking sites
Categories: Business development, General mutterings and muses, Public relations, marketing and advertising, The Internet, eCommerce, online, Web design and development generate new clients, new businesses, public relations, small businesses, website
Look at the front page of any newspaper and you’ll see a picture that tells a story. Newspapers will only consider the quirky, exclusive or impactful. Cute kids and celebrities always go down well and having a few people in the shot is usually a good move for events pictures. If a story isn’t strong enough by itself, a picture can make the difference in securing good coverage. Editors want to sell newspapers and a good picture story will help them do so.
Any press release that is sent out to newspapers following an event requires a photo to illustrate it. Without this, a newspaper is unlikely to run the story (unless the story is huge!). Media research shows that readers are much more likely to a) buy a newspaper and b) enjoy reading it, when the number of colour pictures increase and the amount of block text decreases. Therefore good quality, interesting photos are really just as important as a stand-alone press release to the editor of a newspaper.
A picture will draw a reader to actually look through the article and that is where the positive PR for an organisation comes into effect. Pictures can lead to great coverage for an organisation. Here are some examples of the type of photos that make the papers everyday:
Pictures of competition winners generally make the papers. Pictures of the winner being handed his/her trophy by a VIP always goes down well. The following details are required alongside this: Full Name, Age and Town. Without these details the photo isn’t worth much. It may be that the press will want to interview the winner if the win is an important one.
Children are always great ways to get coverage. If you are taking photos of children under the age of 16 you need written authorisation from a parent/guardian.
VIPs always make good news. Any shots of VIPs e.g. with a member of the public who has won something, or a VIP in action, generally gets published. This can be anyone from a local politician to the CEO of a large company to a soap star. Popular photos are ones of a VIP ‘getting his hands dirty’ or doing something you wouldn’t expect.
- Openings & Events
If a new building is opening there is the age-old cutting of the ribbon shot. This is quite ‘cheesy’ however some newspapers, especially local ones like them, especially if the person opening it is a local councillor or celebrity. It is great to get all the people involved in the project in the picture with the celebrity cutting the ribbon (this may need to be staged again and again until you get the right shot). Names and job title/company are required.
For events it is advisable for photos to give a good feel of the event. It needs to appear busy, so there should be plenty of people smiling and having fun. You want the event to appear busy, popular and fun.
- Action shots
Shots of people and children reacting to things in a positive or negative way are great. A child seeing a heron and pointing in the air, mouth open in amazement, makes a good shot. It is easy to put a nice caption with this. Other shots, such as a horse jumping mid-air would be good or a kid stroking a pony and laughing or having her first go at grooming. Again, name, age and town are needed for any person in a photograph.
- Telling a story
Newspapers love shots that really tell the story. These are photos that, with just the photos, we get the gist of what is going on. For example, with a school trip to the Natural History Museum: a good photo would be one of a child with his worksheet in front of a fossil. From this we can immediately see without looking at the heading that the article is about a school trip to a museum to learn about fossils. Hopefully the photo would be a little more interesting than this, but that is the gist of ‘telling a story’.
Putting things in context is important. A child with a bright Easter egg to illustrate an Easter event is much more appealing with just a picture of a child. The same goes for a child with a Santa hat, riding a horse, for example. This makes an ordinary story. The person needs to be doing something which illustrates what the event is about.
- The Quirky
This is anything that will catch the reader’s eye. It might be visually attractive or just very funny. For example, for the dog show Crufts, pictures of the smallest and largest dogs (Chihuahua and Great Dane) make for a humorous photo. The same could be done with a Shetland pony and a Shire horse. Anything which shows extremes will catch the eye. Another example is a 70 year old ice skater with her medal or a cute little pony that has won an important competition on its first outing. The story and the photo are something out of the ordinary and that is what makes good news.
- Heart Strings
Any picture which pulls on the heart strings will help strengthen a story. The ‘feel good’ element always makes a good story. This might be a rider that has come back from injury to win a competition or a child having her first horse ride. Any good news stories, especially with these added elements are always appealing to the press. The same goes for a cute child – if it makes the reader smile and get emotional, it’s a good press shot!
Things to avoid:
- Peoples’ backs in the photos…faces are much more interesting!
- People too far away from the camera – they just look like spots!
- Shots that don’t really say or do anything – think about the story the picture is (or should be) telling. The picture is there to make the reader want to read the article.
Things to try:
- For events, busy, happy shots are the way to go.
- If there is an opportunity to take a photo near a branding board, logo or site name of the organisation involved, do so.
- Remember to get the name, age and town of the person in the photo.
- Remember to get signed consent forms for under 16s
- Don’t be afraid to ‘set up’ a shot if you can imagine seeing something similar on the front page of a newspaper. Kids are usually surprisingly willing to do a bit of acting!
What information is needed to accompany the picture?
The most important thing is to get hold of is the full name, age (if child or elderly – carefully asked!) and town of anyone in the picture, otherwise the photo doesn’t mean anything. If it is a group of school children and the story does not relate to a particular child, just the school name, town and class name is fine. Name, age and town of team members or visitors featured in the photo are often useful as press releases can be sent to the newspaper covering where each child lives.
Press releases are a great way to get publicity without spending huge amounts of money. They are a powerful tool that helps get your business noticed, but with editors receiving hundreds of press releases each day you need to make sure yours stands out. Here are my top tips on writing a press release that editors will want to read and publicise.
- Know your subject
Make sure you know the subject you are writing about. If you don’t then do some research. If you are writing a press release that your product “can make people’s life easier” or you can “guarantee to triple sales in a week” then you need to be able to convince the editor too.
- Is your news “newsworthy”?
Not all news is newsworthy. A press release is to inform about your news item, not to make a sale. If your press release sounds like an advert, re-write it. A press release should answer the questions who?, what?, when?, where? and why?
- Effective headline
Use a headline that has maximum impact and effectiveness. The headline is what the editor will see first about your press release so it needs to be catchy and wanting them to read more.
- Third person
A press release should be written in the third person, as if you were a journalist writing it.
A press release should have a beginning, middle and an end. Following the headline should be a newsworthy summary giving more information about the news item. It is these first few words that count towards the success of getting the press release published or not. The middle will provide information backing up the summary. The end will be a ‘call to action’ such as “for more information call…” and a round-up of the information in the press release.
- Notes to editors
In the notes to editors include a boilerplate with some general information on the company issuing the release.
Always proofread your press release.
- Press information
Include media contact information, including name, phone number and email address.
Quotes can hold a great deal of weight to a press release, but offer quotes that are relevant to the news item.
- Media distribution
Compile a media distribution list that is relevant to the press release being written. Don’t send a press release to every media contact you have “just in case”, this can be harmful to your relationship with them if they are constantly receiving news items that do not interest them. A well constructed media list will have a bigger impact.
Marketing and public relations, they’re the same thing – aren’t they? This is a question I get asked all the time, and my answer – No, public relations and marketing are different. Marketing is interested in the market – consumers and demand. Public relations is interested in relationships and reputation.
I think the confusion comes as they both deal with communicating an organisations message to its public. This is true, but public relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour, while marketing is more ‘in your face’ to grab attention, such as advertising campaigns.
However different their functions and how they are perceived, marketing and public relations do and must work together towards one goal. Good public relations create a healthy environment for marketing.
Hopefully that has given some clarification to marketing and public relations and the differences between them. Both components are important and should be used to support each other as part of a management tool.