How to get the best out of PR
PR is a term used to describe activities that promote an organisation to its audience. PR activities differ from advertising in that they do not usually incur a cost (other than time and materials). In our case, it’s about getting ourselves noticed by as many potential clients as possible.
PR is great if you have little or no budget, but it can be time consuming and sometimes the rewards are not always obvious or immediate. The value of PR is often longer term, it helps you raise awareness of your presence, it puts you on the map as it were.
There is a whole raft of different activities that you can undertake:
- Giving talks
- Running workshops
- Holding Open Days
- Attending Health & Well-being Fairs
- Maintaining contact with clients
Free Press Coverage
One of the most effective ways of generating awareness is by tapping into the local press. Although we might imagine that the bigger the publication, the greater the impact, this isn’t always the case. At TMS we have experienced good responses from small, local publications. It’s almost as if people feel more comfortable with therapists that are close to them. Plus, of course, the smaller the publication the more likely they are to welcome additional material.
There are two main ways of getting yourself into local publications for free:
- Issuing press releases
- Writing articles
Although these are free, often the fact that you advertise in a publication will make them more likely to include your story.
What is a Press Release? Put simply, it’s a newsworthy story written in a format that appeals to newspapers and other publications. So, have you done or are you about to do anything newsworthy? The chances are that you have, for example:
- Significant milestone: 100th client or 3 years in practice
- Gaining a new qualification or skill
- Attending a conference
- Holding an Open Day
If you live a very quiet life and you simply can’t think of anything of interest, try tapping into national awareness days, like Asthma Awareness Week or Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Alternatively, produce something seasonal, such as ‘de-stress in time for your holiday’ or ‘ease away aches & pains from gardening after the long winter’.
Send the press release to as many local publications as you can think of. Larger publications will get hundreds each week, so it’s a good idea to target smaller publications too.
Click on the links below to view our example press releases and adapt them for your own use.
Articles are generally more factual and less about news than press releases. A good idea is to ask your local publications for a Features List. Most larger publications will pre-plan themes for certain times of the year, for example wedding season, holiday season or more specific topics such as mental well-being or mid-life career changes. Take a look at what features are coming up and see if you can write something relevant.
Alternatively you could write about something you feel comfortable with and then see if any local publications are interested. Your training course notes, or the hand-outs from a recent CPD event are a good source of inspiration and reference material.
You could of course add the material to your own website, although you shouldn’t do this if a publication has accepted your article as they will expect it to be exclusive to them.