We recently set out to help define what PR is and why it’s important for your brand. Now, we’re taking it a step further and identifying tips and tricks to help you develop an effective PR strategy that delivers results.

Always start with a press release brief

Since press releases are often time-sensitive, you may feel the pressure to simply get out the piece as soon as possible. However, taking the time to put together a brief with the stakeholders of the piece of news you wish to share can ultimately save you time in the long run and help you produce a better product. A press release brief should define goals and help answer the who, what, when and where of your news, like overall messaging, target audience, key terminology, desired outcome, quote topics, what you want your boilerplate to include, etc. This will ensure you are all on the same page before you sit down to put your content together.

Carefully plan out the timing of your piece

A big part of the planning process includes defining the timeline of your release in regards to overall efforts and supporting materials. A good rule of thumb is to distribute a couple of weeks prior to an upcoming event and/or within the week following an event or announcement. The distribution of a release prior to your event will help build momentum and one after it will ensure it stays top of mind. The timing of when you send your release to news outlets matters too – it’s best to avoid weekends, early mornings and late at night. According to Prowly, the best time to send a press release is Thursday between 11 am and 2 pm.

Choose your means of distribution wisely

Once your press release is ready and you know when you’d like to distribute it, it’s time to determine the best method of going about that process. One thing that you should always be maintaining and evolving is your relationships with contacts at media sources as well as familiarizing yourself with what their outlets prefer to publish and who their audience is. If your angle is to focus on the local aspect of your brand’s initiative or it’s only relevant to a niche audience, then distributing through your list of local industry contacts is your best bet. But if your goal is to gain more national coverage, then the addition of distributing through a third-party source like BusinessWire or PRWire will help you accomplish your objectives.

Support your efforts through your own channels

With PR, once you send off your press release, it’s easy to forget about it. However, to get the biggest return on your efforts, it’s best to support its content on your own channels via social media and your website. The most direct way is to post your press release as a blog and then shoot it out to your followers and subscribers via email and every pertinent social media channel you have. You’ll receive optimal results if you publish your piece before it’s distributed to other channels. Indirectly, you should also ensure that you are constantly producing high-quality content to establish your expertise in the industry and to gain the trust of those who land on your pages. For B2B, LinkedIn specifically should be a main source of content, as 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn, as opposed to 13% on Twitter and 7% on Facebook.

Pay close attention to the outcomes you receive

After putting forth all of this effort, you need to be able to quantify your results and your ROI (return on investment). Your reporting should always include at least the high-level statistics on the coverage your piece garnered, like views, impressions, sources, link clicks and mentions. Information like where your audience lives and the sentiment around your piece can further establish that you reached who you wanted to and that they received your content in the way that you planned. Analyzing your results can help inform any changes in the process you may need to make for the future.

The steps outlined above are something we’ve developed over the years and put into practice to receive excellent results for our clients. If you’re looking to back your brand’s efforts with the help of a professional PR team, we can help.