Jun 04, 2011
Use Direct Mail to Take Full Advantage of Your PR Work
The end goal of direct mail and PR are the same - to spread the word. So these two tools have a natural synergy. What's more, most of the people that your PR campaign might target are inundated with e-mail - most journalists get hundreds of pitches a day by email - so direct mail can be a smart way to stand out.
Where to start? Here are a few tips:
Let your PR contacts be your megaphone. When developing your mailing lists, you'll naturally include prospective customers (leads) - subscribers from your website, visitors to your trade show booth, people you meet at networking events, and anyone else who is within your target audience but hasn't yet become a customer.
Also add to your list PR-related contacts - those who can help you spread the word to an even wider audience of prospective customers. Include journalists you have an ongoing relationship with as well as contacts from your trade associations, member organizations, and other industry influencers. These are people to whom you're not selling directly, but rather informing of your products and services (and how those benefit their audiences) so they can sell for you.
Content counts. Direct mail targeted to a PR audience requires different content than mailers to customers and prospects. Remember, you're not sending a "Here's why you should buy my product/service" message, but rather a "Here's how my product/service helps your audience, and why you should tell them about it" message.
All of your mailers should reinforce that key message. They should highlight customer success stories ("Here's how my product/service has helped your audience") and they should make the PR contact's job easier (content that a journalist can easily turn into an article is great). You can accomplish those goals in a number of ways, including:
• Create a direct mail tip sheet. Research shows that our brains retain information better when it's presented in short lists. Journalists know this, so help them with a list of tips relevant to your industry (and your products/services). For example, "5 Things to Know about Buying a Short Sale" or "6 Reasons Why Regular Auto Maintenance is a Must" on a jumbo postcard. For your response mechanism, include just teaser content in the mailer then direct the reader to contact you or go to your website for the full content.
• Share your news. Journalists and other PR contacts are always looking for a good story. So give them one! Include in your direct mailer (a flyer self-mailer, perhaps) information about your organization's successes in the industry, latest news highlights, and forward-looking events or promotions. Link back to the full article or press release on your website.
• Leverage your blog content. If you spend time populating your blog with commentary on industry trends or company viewpoints, include teasers of that content in your direct mailer (in the form of a newsletter, for example). This way, your blog content gets more mileage, and you're driving visitors back to your website (where they should be able to find more answers to the questions "How does this product/service helps my audience, and why should I tell them about it?").
Be consistent. One of the biggest mistakes companies make is to do one mailer, advertisement, electronic newsletter, etc. and then end the campaign. Delivering useful, timely content to your readers on a regular basis is vastly more effective.
Your PR contacts, as with your prospective customers, might not respond to you on the first mailer, even if they read it and internalize your message (perhaps, for instance, they're not yet ready to respond). With PR, your aim is to catch the contact at just the time they're thinking about a story to which you could add value. So if you mail to those contacts consistently, your chances of generating a response - and getting them to by your megaphone - increase exponentially.