In England, we start from an alarming observation, an average SME today devotes barely 1% * of its turnover to communication. And only 35% of French companies * have a defined communication policy. Yet 82% * of them know that communication will become essential in the coming years. Conversely, in the USA, companies of the same size devote more than 20% of their turnover to communication …
In England, communication lacks professionalism. The business leaders of VSEs and SMEs are aware that they do not communicate enough, but paradoxically behavior does not change.
Faced with this observation, small companies do not even think about press relations or homeopathic doses. Yet an article in the press has 3 times more impact than advertising space on the same medium.
Portrait of the journalist?
We must not forget that the press is also an industry. News never stops. Reactive and available, the journalist must know how to work quickly, while adapting to the flow of information. Pressed by the deadlines, he must react immediately and be available when a new “falls”. By force of circumstances, he reads the information diagonally, hence the need to be hard-hitting from the first word in order to convince.
Favorite tools for journalists
There are 3 tools at your disposal to interact with journalists.
The favorite and most widely used tool for journalists: the press release.
On average, a journalist receives around 130 press releases per day. The figure rises to 250 for the mass press, that is, radio and television.
The most important points to grab the journalist’s attention:
- Create something new: you have to stand out;
- The information must be of good quality;
- Is the company known? L’Oréal finds it easier than a local SME to be published by the press;
- If other media are talking about your business, this is a criteria for being published.
The characteristics of a successful press release:
It must be in A4 format. The most important is the subject line of the email and the title of the press release. Unfortunately, given the volume of emails received, the journalist will stop at your email if the subject matter has caught his attention.
Then, it is recommended to write the press release in the body of the email and not as an attachment. Regarding photos, it is not recommended to attach them as attachments. They are often too heavy and impossible to open. Instead, opt for an Ftp link to download them or indicate that they are available.
When writing the press release, the 5 W rule must be observed:
For important news, you can very well use the video, which is about two minutes long. This concept is becoming more and more frequent and much appreciated by journalists.
After sending the press release, it is recommended that you call the reporter approximately 48 hours later. For the written press, favor the time slot from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and rather at the end of the morning for the radio.
The press kit
It must be between 10 and 15 pages long and must be on a given theme. It should always be written on the occasion of a fact: product launch, trade show.
For it to be effective, it is necessary to approach the points from different angles in order to interest the different types of press: economic, feminine, financial, specialized …
The pages of the press kit should not be tied together so that the reporter can easily take the information he or she is interested in.
The press trip
Before organizing a press trip, you must make sure that the content is up to the event and of quality. Journalists have very little time and they travel for real information. To do this, you can call on experts internal and / or external to the company.
And how much does it earn me?
One of the questions that is most often asked: “yes I have an article in the press but how much does it make me? “Above all, it is essential to follow the press to monitor what is said about your business, make a freelance of the news of your business that you will disseminate via social media, your communication media …
It is indeed difficult to measure the Return on Investment of press relations. As stated in the preamble, an article has 3 times more impact than advertising space on the same medium.
Apart from the financial aspect, in the press you have to take into account the snowball effect. As soon as a reporter talks about you, others will take over. So you have to seize the opportunity and enrich your news to spread over a wider scope. In this case we will also speak of Return on Investment.
Keep in touch
To be successful in your press relations, it is very important to send regular, quality, as well as news, information, of course. But what can you do when your company has no news?
You have to bounce back on current events in your sector, or communicate by partnering with other companies. Why not use the networks (example: the Entreprendre network), associations (Richelieu committee, etc.) and competitiveness clusters, very good “relayers” of information. The feedback from journalists on this type of communication is rather positive.
In order to be contacted, you can be referred as an expert. So the journalists come to get the word of the expert, and you have managed to get the press interested. Then don’t hesitate to highlight this role so that journalists can consult you on this subject.
The other approach: the cyclical articles of the press, called in jargon “chestnut trees”, such as thinness in spring, solar in summer, low cost weekends in Europe in autumn …
In order to be able to intervene at this time, it is essential to anticipate the closing dates by calling the press services so that they communicate the editorial calendar to you.
Which address ?
Beyond the PQR (Regional Daily Press like Nice Matin) and the regional media (England Bleu, England 3 PACA), everything happens in Paris. To successfully establish a link with the journalist, it is recommended to continue sending press releases even if there is no response.
In parallel, you can very well invite him to have a coffee to reveal news or important information.
To succeed in your press relations, you must build a press file by integrating bloggers who are opinion leaders who should not be overlooked.
What are you waiting for to take action?
I hope this article will allow you to see more clearly and above all will have made you aware of the importance of doing press relations. And that it is by no means reserved for large companies! Of course, like your company’s accounting, it’s a profession; in order to be relevant, have a professional accompany you: a freelance or an agency. So you will have an expert by your side and your communication will be a success!
* According to a study carried out by the Association Information Presse & Communication with the assistance of ACFCI entitled “1st IP & C / ACFCI barometer” Press relations: the tool of the future for SMEs / SMIs “.
Indicative bibliography: Successful press relations by Elodie Cally in Ed. © Dunod