Five Clear-Cut Ways to Achieve PR Success
Learn the secrets to standing out in a nonprofit world
Written by: Rochelle Brandvein
Comparing yourself to others is normal. You might wish you were taller like your friend Randy or could stay as fit as your friend Beth. But what about measuring your work success—particularly in the nonprofit world—to those who are killing it via publicity and always seem to be on the evening news…and interviewed by amajor podcaster…plus featured in a national publication? How is it possible that the media are covering your competition with so much zest while you watch from the sidelines without so much as a single nibble?
The Haves and The Have Nots
Don’t covet the larger nonprofits, which may be graced with a marketing person (or even team) who gets their name in the spotlight. Their size and resources shouldn’t keep you from achieving recognition for your own
solid work. Stop making excuses and start making headway. Think about what is newsworthy at your agency: an anniversary, new hires, grants, and fundraisers. The list goes on and on. Begin by locally spreading the word
about all that your organization is achieving. Doors will open, and people will want to learn more, which leads to donations, volunteerism, and overall support. Sounds easy enough? It is. The more effort you exert, the
more publicity placements you will earn, and your nonprofit will start shining even brighter in this newfound spotlight.
Your Secret Sauce
Your agency may be the best in its field, but it’s up to you to educate the media about your significance. Your first step is to make a reporter’s job as seamless as possible by supplying the most concise and relevant
information about your agency. Reporters are typically on very tight deadlines and don’t have time to research what your agency specifically does. Be thorough (but don’t over-provide) by sharing your agency’s history, as well as its stance on the topics you are promoting. The media will more likely reward you with interviews thanks to your time-saving methods and overall professionalism.
Lead, Don’t Follow
Your agency is unique in one way or another, and it’s up to you to distinguish how. When you do, position yourself as a thought leader in the industry since your specialized insight is valuable. But don’t forget about one very important factor: the follow through. A proactive publicity push means you must embrace more options and opportunities. Research editorial
calendars to uncover when and where your agency should target its time (i.e. don’t go after a holiday story just two weeks before a monthly trade publication’s deadline. The media need a much longer lead time.) Keep on
top of what’s happening nationally and then simultaneously pitch your local media with your inside view. And don’t forget to follow up with your pitched inquiries (but not to the point of hounding). Sounds like common
sense, doesn’t it? Perhaps, but these small suggestions are why some nonprofits are more publicity prosperous than others.
Be Prepared…Just Like the Boy Scouts
Successful public relations is all in the planning. Plot your course instead of haphazardly slapping your publicity program together. Be methodical by creating a bucket list. Do you want your agency to win a specific award? Then do the research, making sure colleagues review your nomination form and can add to your wisdom. Looking to become a television go-to interview candidate who speaks about your industry’s niche? Then become the best
spokesperson you can by formulating the following game plan:
Develop your message (problem, solution and action) before the interview.
Discuss three main points you want to convey to the audience.
Respond with short and sweet answers.
Know your material, but don’t memorize it in order to remain conversational.
Say your agency’s name and contact information s-l-o-w-l-y so it registers with the audience.
Dress for success (i.e. no small patterns, checks, stripes, white, red or black, as well as no big, clunky
jewelry that will make noise during your interview.)
I’ll Have What She’s Having
If you like the results that others are producing, then by all means emulate their success…but with a unique twist. While you want to be your own brand, you still can mirror another’s plan without reinventing the wheel. You like their transparency? Then, by all means, be transparent. That means never saying “no comment” (the media won’t come back to you if you do.) You enjoy their weekly emails? Then create communication—both internal and external—that is consistent and interesting. You think their website is amazing? Well, you get the picture. It’s normal to compare your organization to local and national publicity winners. Just keep in mind that you have just as wonderful of a cause to promote. So…what are you waiting for?
Go make it happen.
Rochelle Brandvein is the owner of Brandvein-Aaranson Public Relations, a 30-year-old PR agency that recently pivoted to solely handling nonprofits and companies with a philanthropic arm or foundation. Her company specializes in publicity, copywriting, and creative services.