Media Relations: Ending the Press Release Crutch
When most people think of media relations, they think of press releases. To be sure, writing and distributing them is one of the most important parts of the job. But press releases may be the most overused tool in the media professional's arsenal to the detriment of other tools that might have greater results.
When I worked in broadcast news for ABC News and CNN, the fax machines virtually never stopped. We got press releases by the dozen, and by the end of each day, we had a ream of press releases. They each had something in common. They each went unread.
To break through the clutter, you'd be wise to occasionally skip the press release and send a personalized note to a reporter instead. This works particularly well when offering a reporter an "exclusive," a story that you will only pitch to a single news organization.
Here are three tips to help make sure your letter gets read:
1) Offer an Exclusive -- News is a competitive business. If a reporter likes your story ? and is convinced that his or her cross-town rival won't have it ? they are much more likely to carry your news. The offer of an exclusive is an effective tool, but should be thought out carefully, since the news organization that doesn't get the story may hold it against you.
2) Conduct Reporter Research -- You may have a brilliant pitch ? but if you send it to the wrong reporter, it's useless. Make sure you properly identify the correct reporter for your type of story.
Once you've done that, indicate to the reporter that you've been following his or her work, and that your story is similar or related to another story he or she has recently written. Mention his or her previous articles by name. A shockingly small number of media relations professionals take the time to do this, so the reporter will instantly deem you more credible than the average "PR flack."
3) Subject Line -- Reporters from National Geographic Traveler and People magazines recently told me how critical they consider an e-mail's subject line. A boring subject line means that the e-mail will probably never even get opened!
There are certain things you can do to break through the clutter. I've found it effective to write "Offer of Exclusive" in the subject line, or to include the reporter's name in the subject line, as in "To David ? New Research Shows Children Increasingly Illiterate."
But virtually nothing beats a genuinely creative and attention-grabbing headline. I recently saw an e-mail sent by a company that uses clamshells to make jewelry. Their subject line? "Clams aren't just for chowder anymore." You better believe that most reporters were curious enough to open that e-mail!
Brad Phillips is the founder and president of Phillips Media Relations (http://www.PhillipsMediaRelations.com). He was formerly a journalist for ABC News and CNN, and also headed the media relations department for the second largest environmental group in the world.
How Managers Hit PR Paydirt
As a business, non-profit or association manager, you'll know it's PR paydirt when you're able to persuade your key external stakeholders to your way of thinking, then move them to take actions that lead to your department, division or subsidiary's success.
Anchor Your Relationships
I heard a speaker recently who was talking about how to maintain strong relationships. As I listened to his basic principle, I realized that it is true in all of our life situations, be it work, family etc. And let's face it, relationships are what make the world go 'round. So strong healthy relationships will make your work more enjoyable, and prosperous, and will make your family and friend relationships better as well.
Managers: Heres a PR Template for You
Let's start out with a caution for business, non-profit and association managers: the premise of public relations implies that the work you do BEFORE you use PR tactics, such as press releases, brochures and broadcast interviews, will determine the success of your public relations effort.
Are You PR-Challenged?
You won't be if you accept a very simple premise. Here, in just two sentences, is your pathway to effective public relations. A pathway that lets you target the kind of stake- holder behavior change that leads directly to achieving your objectives.
PR: The Thrill of a Good Idea
The notion that a business, non-profit or association manager can actually hold a big key to success in his or her own hands IS a thrilling idea!
Add Some Firepower to your PR
Sure, as tactics usually presented to business, non-profit and association managers, special events, brochures and news releases are fine.
Mastering the Media
What do Monica Lewinsky, Shoshanna Lowenstein, and even Richard Hatch have in common? Media exposure. They were ordinary people who became household names.
Publicity Wont Thrive on Press Releases Alone
Press releases are a useful tool for announcing news and for keeping your name in the mind of the news media.
Is This the PR You Thought You Were Getting?
You know, where you do something positive about the behaviors of those outside audiences that MOST affect your organization? And where you do so by persuading those important external folks to your way of thinking, then move them to take actions that help your department, division or subsidiary succeed?
Generating Publicity: Will The Media Be Interested In My Product/Business?
When it comes to launching a new business or product, some marketing consultants might say that EVERY product is appropriate for a publicity or media exposure campaign. That is true to a degree, but as a PR/publicity professional and former media person, I would qualify that statement by saying that although new products would benefit from a solid publicity campaign, not all businesses or products and their pitches will grab the attention of the media.
So, How Do I Answer That?
How you answer questions depends on many factors. Example what type of situation is it. Are you working with your colleague or talking with your boss. Are you doing an interview with the media or announcing a breakthrough with your business.
There Is No Such Thing as Competition
A wise friend of mine has often said, "There is no such thing as competition." I happen to agree with that philosophy. In fact, I have many solid business and social relationships with people you might consider my "competition". Some of my best friends are "competitors"!
Advertising Is Dead. Long Live PR
Although I still believe there is a place for advertising as a brand maintenance or brand affirmation tool, I am convinced that to build a brand today, you need PR. At one time advertising did build brands. But this was in a simpler America. That America, sadly, is no more.
Life After Press Release Distribution?
A few weeks ago I was participating on an on-line message board. One of the members was a new business owner who was very excited about sending out her company's first press release. The question she posted to the group was important, but also a common one echoed by so many small-business owners charged with handling media coverage in-house for the first time: "Now that I've distributed my press release, what do I do next?
Financial Planner Marketing - Problems Are Good (For Financial Planners Seeking Free Publicity)
A common complaint you'll hear is that the media is fixated on negative stories.
Publicity: The Best Things In Life Are... FREEE!
One portion of your marketing plan that you probably don't think about enough is "free publicity".
E-Mail Media Releases
E-mail is becoming the preferred way to receive media releases. Although it can sometimes be harder to get valid e-mail addresses for media contacts, e-mail releases are more likely to be read than faxes and faster than snail mail.
Can Your PR Game Plan be Salvaged?
If, as is often the case, you are preoccupied with comm-unications tactics instead of working a plan to actively pursue those outside audience behaviors that stop you from achieving your objectives, the answer is yes.
Getting Free Publicity with Radio Interviews
Imagine that you are a radio producer. You have to fill three hours a day, five days a week, every single week. You need topics that inform, enrage, entertain, educate, motivate, and otherwise engage your audience. How do you find those topics, and the guests to make them come alive?
Starting A Publicity Program
Successful buisnesses know that media attention reaches consumers better than advertising can. A feature story on a start-up's new product or service, for example, can send the business into a new stage of growth. Publicity can help bring your business greater visiblity and success. Publicity lets the public know you exist and creates crediblity and good will. That makes customers and prospects more receptive to your products and services.
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