A lot of businesses think of public relations as the province of enormous corporations, but it's more—and less—than a fully staffed in-house department. PR is the function of presenting your business and its message in the clearest and most positive light, and motivating the prospective client to see you as a go-to authority. In an increasingly competitive economic environment, every business needs to work harder to get its name out there. And you'd be surprised how far you can get on only a little effort in this digital age. Example? Sure:
We issued a press release about iPhone developer stats, submitted it to a press-release aggregator or two, inspiring post on an Apple blog that got about 800 hits on Digg. That's not even all the reads, that's just people who read it, had a Digg account, and were motivated to vote it up.
Underlying every PR campaign is the idea of "owning" your category. When people think of what you do, you want them to think of you. Your public relations campaign is simply the process of getting other people to agree that, yeah, you do own that category. You can reach that goal, and there are talented oDesk providers to help you with specific PR tasks quickly and efficiently. We have experienced publicists and marketing writers, journalists and sharp-eyed editors, plus experts in search-engine optimization (SEO), social networking, business research and more.
Here are 10 focused PR goals and tips on what to look for in a provider:
Do it yourself:
You will need certain expertise, but remember that you're the face of your company. This list of DIY PR tips will help you get a handle on being your own chief marketer. You don't need PR people to reach out to journalists, and the most genuine—not the most tailored—pitch is what will succeed. Journalists often view PR professionals as the obstacle between themselves and the story. You are the story, so put your best face forward—your own.
Write press releases:
Publicize new products, promotions or partnerships. You want an experienced writer who knows how to address your message to the appropriate audience—mainstream news media, business writers, tech sites or the general public. A veteran of marketing or journalism can also help identify the right editors or reporters to pitch.
Business is about relationships, and a blog lets you open and maintain a dialogue. This is more casual, lower-key and more frequent than a full press-release media blitz; find a writer with experience in blogging, whose samples you like reading, and who can maintain the blog with agreed-upon regularity.
Track your PR:
Distribute your press release inexpensively through PRweb to help get your news on top sites like Google News & Yahoo News, boost your site traffic and search ranks, send your news to top journalists. Make sure you check your campaign results on PRweb, Google analytics (free!) and your own metrics to improve your next effort. Your publicist/marketing writer can handle that, or it might be more cost-efficient to give this work to a personal assistant who has good web skills but perhaps not high-end writing/marketing chops.
Sift the Data:
oDesk regularly releases data from our global workplace on the oConomy page, in blog posts and press releases, sharing our perspective on the rapidly changing economy with a world hungry for such news. Identify information your business collects that could interest the wider world. Find a talented writer with the research skills, or get an experienced researcher who'll pass the data to a more polished writer. A researcher can also examine trends in your space (online and off) and the general economy to identify improvements to your business strategy. Have her share findings with your audience—or turn them over to your blogger/publicist. Hire a database administrator to improve your data collection about your customers so you can start analyzing it and making interesting observations to share with the world.
Blog items, press releases, news articles—submit 'em all to sites like Digg and Stumbleupon that let users vote on content they like, bringing it to a wider audience. "Digg" the material you produce and any content that mentions your business in a favorable light. A personal assistant or social media marketing (SMM) provider can keep up with this for you.
Social media sites such as Facebook, and Twitter are quickly being adopted by businesses. "That's crazy," an old-line executive will say, but look at all the major businesses doing it. Hire the same assistant/SMM who handles your Diggs.
Create a slideshow:
Press releases inspire news outlets to write about you—but many business-to-business publications accept bylined articles in which your top executives can share their perspective and expertise. A publicist can help you brainstorm ideas, identify and pitch to likely venues, and craft the final piece.
There's a lot that can be done with a small team of skilled providers delivering just the work you need, when you need it. And these days, who doesn't need it right now?