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10 Easy Ways To Improve Your PR

“I want to get my company known and be perceived as a leader.”  I hear that request a lot from potential clients looking for PR, along with people thinking there is some magic bullet to getting buzz. So let me set the record straight and also share with you some easy ways to get your company (or yourself) better known. Communicate what you do succinctly and simply. Too often people try to explain what they do with five dollar words and a lot of jargon, using words like ideate, holistic, endemic, and scalable, that simply gum up the mouth. They repel, not attract.

“I want to get my company known and be perceived as a leader.”  I hear that request a lot from potential clients looking for PR, along with people thinking there is some magic bullet to getting buzz. So let me set the record straight and also share with you some easy ways to get your company (or yourself) better known. Communicate what you do succinctly and simply. Too often people try to explain what they do with five dollar words and a lot of jargon, using words like ideate, holistic, endemic, and scalable, that simply gum up the mouth. They repel, not attract. Instead, in basic English, explain what your product or service makes it possible for someone to do. Pretend you’re talking to a 10-year-old. I don’t care how complicated and high falutin’ your product or service is. No one has the time or patience today to try to figure out what you mean. And that goes double for reporters and bloggers.Tout why anyone should care. Most people can’t be bothered to know how something works, nice as that can be. They want to know what it will do for them. Will it save time? Make you more money? Save you money?  Let them know. A good picture says it all. Sometimes what you do can be explained much more clearly in words. I can read, for example, that the iPhone 4S has an 8-megapixel camera but when I see magnificent images, I suddenly know what that means.Make the reporter or blogger’s life easy. Reporters and bloggers, like all of us, are super busy. Provide the facts straight up. Don’t have a long windup before you get to the point, unless you want your note trashed. Simply tell them why they should care and the value of what you’re doing. Keep it real. Nothing turns someone off more than exaggerating what you’re doing. Most of what is said to be unique, first of its kind, or leading, is hyperbole. The only person who believes it is you.Be on point. I sometimes get pitches that have absolutely nothing to do with my business. Why would I care? Understand what the person you want to cover your business writes about and personalize your note accordingly. You might want to reference a previous article a reporter wrote and say that you enjoyed that piece and have a related, but different, story idea. Personalize. Reach out individually to reporters or bloggers you believe would be interested in what you’re doing. Ideally, get to know them first. Read their articles or posts, comment on these where you think it adds value or can extend the conversation. Help them even when it does nothing ostensibly for your company. Think of it as relationship building.Be your own best promoter. Content is the new thought leadership currency. If you have time to write at least once a week or have someone in your company who can do so, blog. Nothing engages more than your speaking conversationally about what you do. According to Hubspot, companies with blogs attract 55% more website visitors than those that don’t have them. If you don’t have time to blog, start engaging with customers and prospects on social media. Listen first and understand the rules of engagement before you start actively posting. Too many companies broadcast rather than have conversations on social media.Contribute articles. Trade publications today are always in the market for good content. Read the publications and understand the type of articles they publish. A quick call to the publication will let you know whom to pitch. Send a brief note explaining what you want to write about, why the readers would be interested, and a few sentences about you and your company.Create word of mouth. Nothing beats a happy customer touting what you can do. And if your customers don’t want their names attached to a quote or case study, don’t forgo this. Instead, refer to the company in a generic way, such as a major retailer or manufacturer. At least you’re providing an outside perspective on what you can do. And finally, an oldie but goodie: Issue a press release. This old workhorse is still effective. Just keep it brief, avoid hyperbole and make it easy to understand. Focus on a new initiative your audience will care about. Include key words that prospects are likely to search.If all of this sounds like too much, begin slowly. Carve out a few areas to focus on. I would start with your making your communications easy to understand. And then work on creating a little content, be it a blog or contributed article. After all, you don’t have to be famous in a day. Just get a little better known each day.Author Wendy Marx is a B2B PR and Marketing Specialist, Marx Communications[Image: Flickr user Grey World]

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About the author

Wendy Marx is President of Marx Communications, an award-winning boutique B2B Public Relations agency known for turning companies and executives, including start-ups, into thought leaders. Follow her on Twitter @wendymarx and on Google+ @ plus.google.com/+wendymarx.

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