It never fails… publicity, press release generation, and media placement topics are the first things my new clients want to discuss with me. But I have yet to find a new client who is actually ready for PR the first time we meet.
It’s easy to understand the thought process and the lure of publicity though… They think “If I get enough visitors to my website, I’ll be famous and rich.” But so much more goes into the virtual business process ahead of engaging the press.
Here is my condensed list of the top 9 areas that need to be on point before sending out a single press release:
- Ensure you have someplace to send them. This seems obvious, but many clients simply want to have the press call them directly. Umm no. Your virtual platform needs to be available and ready for visitors. Make sure you have your…
- Landing page (which may differ from your home page)
- Sales page and an easy sales process and/or online ordering process
- Sales funnel for each segment/customer type
- An appropriate pricing strategy
- Contact details
- A compelling story about what you do (*bonus points for having a viral concept*)
- Updated Blog
- Pertinent links, and…
- If you want to talk with the press, set up your electronic media kit. Very often one media placement leads to additional placements. The reporter or producer that you didn’t initially contact will need more information, so make sure that your media kit is where they’ll find all the information they’ll need about you, your company and your services/products.
- Make sure you have a social media presence and a plan for routine communication and engagement.
- Is your back-end covered? Can the server that hosts your website handle a large amount of new traffic? You don’t want to find out it can’t handle the traffic after your press release has been sent out.
- Do you know where the traffic is coming from, what they’re reading, how long they are staying? If not, set up an analytics system to track important data so you can begin to test and segment your visitors and understand their needs.
- Anticipate a bunch of new visitors and make sure you have a unique offer tied to an autoresponder that will follow-up on all leads.
- Ensure you’re talking to all of your visitors. Not all of your readers will be customers, some will be potential partners, affiliates, or even the competition. How do you handle each of these segments? What do you want to tell them? What is your screening process?
- Create a launch plan. A press release should be one component of your overall communications strategy and launch plan, not the entire strategy.
- Because all of your press releases should have a call to action. I strongly recommend creating a unique sales landing page, mini-site or squeeze page. What is the point of sending the press release? Have something to say AND ask them to take the next step.