Here at PR Academy we have a smashing group of tutors – all very experienced practitioners. With many people needing to do great work with limited resources, I thought I would ask them for their top tips on doing PR on a budget. This is what Maud Davis, Kate Lomax, Chris Tucker and Heather Yaxley had to say….
- Make friends with the research people. Chris explains that large organisations carry out research all the time and suggests finding out if you can add on a few questions that could generate a news story. In a similar way, when Heather used to work for a breakdown company, she would ask outbound call staff to do quick and dirty polls on topical issues – it worked a treat around things like how people felt about things like pictures on the UK driving licence when they were first introduced.
- Find free data within the organisation. When Heather worked for that vehicle breakdown company many of her stories came from the statistics generated by call outs. Chris suggests looking at trends in phone calls or hits on a website - are there spikes in activity that have an interesting reason behind them? She quotes the example of a contact lens company which noticed that a spike in enquiries for new lenses happened around Halloween as people wanted novelty lenses to wear at Halloween parties. Cue nice calendar related story!
- Use and support local resources and expertise. Maud uses the example of Open Farm Sunday, a campaign in which she is very involved. Farmers get a media pack produced by ‘Linking Environment and Farming’ – LEAF for short – which enables them to work with the local press while LEAF and its PR team Ceres PR handle national activity. Heather agrees – she does the same thing with the Lions organisation: “I tell them that if we can do this well, with 900 clubs we will have one of the largest PR teams in the country.”
- Other People’s Money! Heather explains that this is really about collaboration. Sometimes you can work with a partner or a supplier who will benefit from the PR activity on their own behalf and so give you a reduced cost, or even support without charge. Heather gives the example of the motor industry PR group where they have partners for events: “It helps them to achieve their own PR objective without having to organise the event, and we benefit from additional funding which makes the events viable financially.”
- Knowing what’s on the agenda. Kate says that some of her most successful media relations has resulted from being the right place at the right time – but that doesn’t happen by chance. What Kate means is anticipating and monitoring the news agenda and being ready with a perspective that will be of interest for journalists. Think government figures, major reports , the Budget etc.
So, some great tips there from the team. Do you have to deliver PR on a budget? If so, what are your top tips?