How Independent Designers Can Create a PR Outreach Plan

Having a Public Relations plan is one of the most vital parts of running the business side of your brand. A New Year should bring new goals, outlooks, tests and idea’s to try. If you look back over the growth of your brand whether it’s been good, bad or in-between the New Year and now, it's always a good time to sit back and look into your industry and the ways your brand can grow organically. Having fresh ideas are just as important as having a fresh start. Let’s talk about how being intentional in our Public Relations effort can benefit your growing business 

Independent designer Public Relations

Reflect On Your Past Mistakes 

Lesson: Take an hour (YES a full hour) and write out everything you tried concerning Public Relations for your brand within the last year. Next to that list give full detail of how that plan worked or didn’t work & a note about why. This exercise will help remind you of the past efforts and how to move forward. 

As small business owners one of our downfalls is that we are not honest with ourselves and don’t like to admit our mistakes. Mistakes are actually learning curves that are a part of you brand growth. You must learn a lesson in order to not repeat it. When you spend time reflecting on mistakes, it allows you to visually understand what you can do better. There is so much truth in, “if you don’t know better, you can’t do better.” 

Research Is the First Step 

If you want quick, then this blog post is not for you, if you want random planning this blog post is not for you! If you want intentional results then let’s get started on Research. 

1.  In your Public Relations folder make sure the front contains your brand mission + include your shopper’s personality and customer profile. 

You need to understand what your brand mission is and why shoppers come to you to solve their problem. Understanding their needs, wants and lifestyle choices helps you narrow down your media focus. 

2.  Scratch that old media list and let’s start FRESH! 

This year vow to stop sending out the same old mass emails to editors, hoping & praying your story will get picked up. It’s time to actually get your editor/publication/blog research on. 

-Make it detailed: Editors name, publication/website/blog, topics they cover, contact, and if you can get information on how they like to receive their pitches, that would be great + media kits from their publications! 

Publications: Grab your magazines and RESEARCH, get a feel of what the magazine is about, research their media kits & understand their target demographics. Make note of the publications that fit your brand mission and represent the personality & lifestyle of your shopper, most likely those publications are what your shoppers read. 

After you gather your publications: Start your research, on the editors who cover brands such as yours, the type of stories they write, follow them on social media & get to know their style of communication and their personality which can make a difference in how you write a pitch to them. 

3.  Online Websites: Do the same with your research and find the websites that cover your subject, research the editors, read the blogs, check out their websites, and connect with them online. 

 A Little Leg Work Helps with Staying Organized & On Time 

Every brand wants to pitch the right story, at the right time to the right editor. That takes a lot of leg work but once it’s done your efforts become easier and you can spend less time on prepping and more on follow ups & creating buzz around themes, calendar features and more daily tasks. 

 1.  Start your editorial calendar: After you have collected media kits, get an editorial calendar started so you can keep up with when “specific topics” are due, also mark any Holiday’s and Big Fashion event days on your calendar as well. The editorial calendar should include topics that pertain to YOUR BRAND! 

2.  Have a separate business calendar: Note important dates and things going on with your brand, working on some new releases, launch party, truck show, Holiday Specials? They need to be noted. Having this calendar organized & detailed allow you to match your business calendar to an editorial calendar and make planning out press releases, media alerts, blog posts, social media posts much easier and you are able to do this ahead of schedule, WIN! 

3.  Include an Idea Log: Here is where things get tricky for new business owners, Every day is not a press day especially for new brands on the market, whew, glad I got that out. Editors want newsworthy stories & you sitting in your office with a mood board on a Tuesday are not newsworthy, Publicist do not need to send a morning press release out regarding that. Creating an idea log of news that is important to the outside world, outside of your business can make a world of difference; news is something that is currently happening. You need to PITCH A STORY not your company. 

4.  STOP, JUST STOP: Stop writing the same boring Press Releases each month (Find 3 to 4 Major News Pitch Idea’s a month and go to your detailed media list and tailor your story directly to them) this should include stories that editors may be working on for online or publication deadlines, expert advice follow ups and newsworthy pitches. 

 Prep Your Public Relations Check Off List 

Before you start sending out press releases, media alerts, etc. Let’s mark some important things off your to-do list. 

1. Samples  

2. Press Kit 

3. Completed Website 

4. Marketing Material 

5. Worthy-News ideas 

6. Product Pictures (White Background, High-Res) 

7. Brand & Designer Statements 

9. Designer Photo’s 

10. The business go-to person contact information for press approvals 

11. In-depth product information line sheet and/or Look book 

 All of this information is important for press coverage, these are things you may need after getting a follow up from an editor. Different editors will need different things, the best thing is to always have this prepared, especially (Hi-res, white background product pictures) if an editor is working on a story and need that immediately, there is no time to set up a photo shoot. 

Press outreach should not be dreadful tasks, creating a plan and getting organized may take a few hours out of your day but it will be beneficial in staying up on what’s going on and allow you to focus daily on industry news. We find that many brand owners are behind on industry happenings daily because they lack the preparation of an effective press outreach department & program. 

How will you prepare for Press Outreach for 2017? Need help organizing? Get a copy of our PR Strategy!