Expert expo: AJ Sharp on How to generate your own PR

Working with The Nurture Network team, we get to work with some brilliant marketing experts who are specialists in their field. I’m always amazed by the top tips that they share so that’s what Expert Expo is all about.
This time we have AJ who is a PR expert and also a business owner as she founded her PR agency Sharp Relations in 2010. Sharp Relations is now an award-winning agency – specialising in food, drink, restaurant and lifestyle. Over to you AJ….

Many companies employ PR agencies because they simply do not have the time or the know-how to chase after PR opportunities themselves. However, if you do have the time, there are plenty of ways you can generate PR and manage your company’s professional reputation without having to part with a penny of your hard-earned cash.
Firstly, you need to establish What you are going to say and to Whom?
What do you want to say?
You can’t just say you’re brilliant because you say so (this isn’t advertising!) you need to think about what news might be of interest to your customers. A new flavour? A new design?A new service?An improvement to a system? You need to tell its story….why have you made it, who is it for, what gap has it filled, how did you create it, was it an accident or by design?
Who are you reaching out to?
What sort of person is your ideal customer? Can you define them by geography or age or a type? Perhaps your product is more suited to men or children or mums-to-be? Is your brand luxury or mass-market? Do they use social media, if so which platforms and in what way? Do they buy magazines or just flick through the free ones on the train or trade magazines in the kitchen at work? Are they likely to watch TV or listen to the radio on their way to work?
Now you know what you are saying and to whom, you can begin…

  1. Take some good photography. Quality images can be the difference between a story being used or it being passed over. You need to supply a clean crisp perfectly lit image 300dpi at least 1-2MB.
  2. Gather your information– You may not need a formal press release per say but it will save you time to have a draft email set up with your news story details, your company information, any facts or stats, stockists, contact details and a good picture.
  3. Identify local journalists and bloggers and get on the phone. Call up the publishing house, request to speak to the editorial team on the publication you are targeting. If possible, have a copy of the publication in front of you. Do your research. You can either:
    1. Pitch your news story
    2. Invite key writers to come to your shop/restaurant/venue
    3. Offer samples of your new product
    4. Request tomeet up
  4. Set up relevant social media channels.Only ifyou identified social media as an appropriate tool for your customers. If you are trying to reach lawyers for example, then Facebook probably isn’t relevant but various law blogs might be. If you are reaching out to the under 30’s then Instagram is a great picture-led tool. Twitter is used a lot by writers and industry trade professionals but not so much by consumers. LinkedIn is great if you are hoping to reach a particular person or exhibit your expertise on an appropriate forum.
  5. Network – PR is all about your reputation and there is no better way to improve your visibility than meeting up in person. Research the purpose of the networking group and tailor your story appropriately. Move on every 15-20mins, it is better to make quality reciprocal connections than to go round collecting hundreds of business cards. And please don’t forget your business cards!
  6. Listings – Make sure your company or product is listed anywhere you can upload a listing for free. There are hundreds of restaurant, venue, shop or business service listings. Make sure you keep it up to date.

Finally, good luck!
Written by AJ at Sharp Relations – an award-winning specialist food, drink, restaurant and lifestyle PR agency.
AJ has worked in the food, drinks and hospitality industry since 1998, managing several restaurants and launching a bar. In 2006, she combined her passion for the industry with a career in Public Relations. Within just four years, AJ was directing accounts at a leading London PR agency and implementing PR strategies for a range of well-known food & drinks accounts including Gaucho Restaurants, Marstons’ Beer Company, Duvel Moortgat, Discovery Foods and Tilda Rice. In 2010 she set up Sharp Relations – an award-winning specialist food, drink, restaurant and lifestyle PR agency. It offers a quality yet affordable service to its clients. Every PR campaign is as unique as the companies represented so Sharp Relations bespoke service offers total choice and flexibility.
All about Expert Expo – we seek out and ask great entrepreneurial marketing experts to share their tips on everything from PR to digital, product development and UX. If you’re an a specialist in marketing, product or innovation and would like to do a guest blog, then do get in touch.