PR 101 – Pt 2 Media Relations
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Public Relations defined by my mentor, John J. Verstraete “Do good things. Tell people about it.”
Public Relations defined by John Jantsch in Duct Tape Marketing “Public Relations activity for small business consists primarily of gaining positive mention of you company or your products in newspapers, magazines, news shows, newsletters, web sites and journals read by some portion of your target market.”
So before we unpack the great Duct Tape Marketing description (next post), let’s start with the simple “Do good things. Tell people about it.” First, before anything else, you have to do something good. That may be assisting a business in becoming more profitable, it may be allowing nonprofits to use your training facilities, it may be receiving an award – but you get the point. Do good things.
Other DOs would include:
Do your homework, before you reach out to a writer, blogger, editor – research what they write about. When you read their stuff, think about ‘What is the hook here? What makes this story interesting?’ Twitter, Facebook, Google Alerts and Google searches are you best friends in doing this research. Also think about “Who are they writing for?” Just like you, they have a target audience; get a feel for who that audience is.
Do think about what you are going to pitch. I suggest writing it down and playing the “So what?” game with your summary before you call the writer – that’s where you look at your message and ask “So what?” and then respond to yourself. (So what if you sold Sage MIP Fund Accounting to XYZ nonprofit? So, because they are more efficient, they are now poised to increase their outreach to unassisted seniors by 30 percent.)
Do connect the dots for the writer. “I have the following story and I think that it would be of interest to your readers because…”
Do drop everything and respond to the writer’s request/phone call. Understand that they are operating under tight deadlines. I know that you are busy too, but you are the one that will gain the most from having a good relationship with the writer.
Do refer them to someone who would be a better source than you. If you can answer their questions and/or provide a quote – that’s great. If they ask you something that is outside of your comfort zone, but you know someone who is qualified to answer, make the referral.
Do remember that you are developing this relationship for the long term. Nurture that relationship. Continue to reach out to the writer.