Is your company ready for increased public exposure?
Maybe you have a new product to launch or service to sell. Perhaps you’re opening a new store or announcing a significant philanthropic venture. Maybe an ownership change is coming.
Before you attempt to put your company in the public eye as part of a public relations campaign, it’s important to ensure that you’re ready for additional public and media attention.
Here are six steps to take before starting a PR or marketing campaign for your Whatcom County business:
Train your office staff. First, prepare a list of talking points and answers to frequently asked questions. Second, sit down with your team and prepare them to engage with the public. Include the people who work the registers, answer the phones and handle social media, certainly, but feel free to invite all others as well. This helps everyone feel included, and they’ll be able to confidently answer any questions friends, family or the public ask them about what is going on. Ask your staff if they have any additional questions and then fine-tune the text based on their feedback. Finally, ensure that staff have a copy of the updated documents.
Pro tip: Instead of talking at your customers, talk with them. Consider having your front-line staff read this article.
Prep your social media accounts. Closely monitor social media during PR campaigns. If there is a problem with your product, or if customers simply have questions, they may turn to social media before calling or emailing. They also might turn to social to tell their friends about your business. Be ready to respond quickly on social media. This is also a good time to refresh your accounts. Look over your social media bios, logos and header images to ensure they are fresh and up to date.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to polish your personal LinkedIn accounts, too.
Ensure your writing is free from errors. My son bought a cute little game from a garage sale recently that had a number of spelling and grammar errors on the box. While the game is fun, the packaging leaves a lot to be desired. Before you put your product in front of the public, make sure it shines a positive light on you and your company.
Ensure your website is functioning well. Are you expecting additional website traffic as a result of this PR launch? If so, can your website handle it? Before your launch, have a chat with your webhost to determine whether your current infrastructure could handle a 300% increase in traffic. Also, test every possible function (shopping cart, subscription opt-in, contact form, etc.) on your website to ensure it’s working as intended.
Pro tip: When testing your site, make sure you’re logged out, so you get the same experience as a member of the public.
Engage community ambassadors. Community ambassadors are generally your best customers or other people you trust to speak well of your brand. Reach out to them well in advance of your PR push. Let them know what’s happening and tell them you’d like their help spreading the word.
Let current clients know about the news. Send an email to your list of recent clients to apprise them of the changes. Don’t have an email list? There’s no better time than now to get started; as part of your media push, put systems in place (a form on your website, for example) to collect the email addresses of people who like your products. Owned media can and should be a huge part of your public relations efforts.
Other things to think about: Are your online hours (Google Maps, Bing Maps, website) correct? If hiring people is part of your plan, are you ready? If you need help with any aspects of your PR campaign, or if you just want somebody with whom you can talk it over, give Bellingham PR & Communications a call. We will even meet with your Whatcom County business for a complimentary consultation.