Flaunter head of content Claire Deane shares the top four steps fashion retailers can take to create a strong PR strategy.
Step 1: Prep For Success
Before you kickstart any PR activity, ask yourself these 5 questions:
- What are your brand’s key messages?
- Who is your target audience? Which press outlets, both digital and print, reach this type of audience?
- What unique talking points/angles will people want to write about?
- What is the ideal time to talk about what’s happening in your business? Also think about what’s trending, and how you can leverage it.
- What has and hasn’t worked for similar brands to yours?
Ask yourself how PR will work towards achieving the larger goals of your business and how you will measure return on investment (ROI).
Also, remember that PR is just one part of a larger marketing strategy, so make sure your PR activity aligns.
Step 2: Preparing your PR Strategy
Consider the following:
- What are your objectives? Do you want to increase brand awareness, position your brand within the market, or drive sales?
- In what timeframe do you need to execute the strategy? You’ll definitely need to plan in advance while also giving yourself enough flexibility to respond to changes in the market. For example, fast fashion brands typically work to a three month timeline, whereas luxury fashion brands tend to plan their PR six months in advance.
- How will you measure success? Set KPI’s that are achievable, but still challenging.
- How much do you have to spend? While you don’t need to break the bank, never underinvest - trying to achieve big things on a shoestring budget probably won’t deliver the desired ROI.
- Who will you pitch to? Identify which titles you will pitch to and what angles you’ll use for each. Put all of the information into a spreadsheet so you can also track what the feedback was, and any follow up. The secret to getting media coverage is creating personalised outreach to each journalist, showing you really understand their audience.
- Will you undertake any additional activity beyond media outreach? You could host an event, engage influencers, send samples or run a collaboration.
- What are your deadlines? Short lead titles typically work four weeks in advance. Long-lead press requires assets approximately three-four months in advance. Online publications typically need at least a week's notice.
Step 3: Preparing your Assets
As a baseline, you’ll need to prep the following:
- Written communications. This might be a media release or just a really well crafted email outlining key angles. Your written comms should include all the key information. Journalists don’t want to have to send a million emails to get to the bottom of your pitch!
- Imagery and video. This could be behind-the-scenes, product flat lay, campaign or lifestyle imagery.
- Your media list. When it comes to your media list, know that creating relationships takes time. Also, media are usually swamped with work. Make their life easy with great information, and be patient when waiting to hear back.
- Product and samples. You’ll need to have plenty of physical product samples available for shoots or gifting. Hot tip? Always ask the journalist first before sending unsolicited packages.
- Talent. Someone will need to be able to speak on behalf of your brand.
Step 4: Evaluating Your Activity
At the end of a campaign, report on whether you achieved your KPIs.
If your activity didn’t achieve the ROI you were expecting, why?
If it exceeded expectations, what was successful?
Repeating the formula next time (or knowing what to change) could bring great results.
PR success comes from being prepared, knowing your end goals and having the right assets in place that will help drive you there.