Thursday 14 November 2019, Leeds

The November PM Forum event held in the Yorkshire region was a presentation on Building and Maximising your PR by Karen Tinkler, director at York-based Partners PR.  Karen has over 20 years’ experience in PR and specialises in professional services, manufacturing, construction, food processing, business support and education.

Karen opened by talking about how in PR everything has changed but nothing has changed.  It’s still about shaping a brand image through stories and building relationships with journalists.  However there is a wider range of channels to target and you may have to tell a story in 280 characters.  PR is constantly evolving and there is more change on the horizon as it’s predicted that in 2012 smart speaker sales will overtake tablets and voice search will add another spin to PR.

PR is not a quick fix and does not directly create sales and cannot be a one hit wonder – it takes time to build momentum.

Media channels can be split into three – owned channels such as social media networks, websites, blogs and newsletters; earned media which is print and broadcast; and paid for media such as an advertorial.  Referring to social Karen shared a stark reminder not to share pictures of coverage on social media as you could be fined.

With PR always consider the following - the end game; key audiences; what you know about how and where audiences gather information; messaging; timeframe; support materials; measurement criteria; budget; where is your audience; and messages that resonate.

It is useful to remember that a press release is more than media coverage.  It will generate media exposure for your firm, provide a hook/link to other assets, give you scope to engage more widely with relevant media, provide SEO-friendly website content, give you something to talk about on social media, enhance profile, help keep the brand front of mind with your networks and make compelling newsletters.

Journalists are busy people and your PR has to stand out from the crowd.  Make their job as easy as possible by making your news relevant to their readers.  Invest in great photography and be responsive to requests for info.

Karen then ran through some tips for the local, national and industry media.  Top tips are – give your stories local flavour for the regional media; for the nationals use your experts for comment and analysis to build your reputation; and in the industry/trade publications research forward features, think about how your content would work in that feature and pitch your idea to the journalist.  Easy PR wins are marking a milestone, celebrating a success, news in numbers using financials, tapping into awareness days, heralding the client’s CSR programme and charity fundraising and finally the media Q&A.

Alongside all this should stand great photography – this is an investment but well worth the money.  It should be bright, quirky and tell the story. 

PR is not all about sending information out – it’s also about handling enquiries in a timely fashion and being a barrier between the client and the media in sensitive situations.  And finally the most important piece of advice is to do your media homework.  Don’t upset journalists by sending them a story that is irrelevant to their readers.  It won’t enhance the client’s reputation or yours.

written by Isobel Hainsworth-Brear, HBPR