Ever wonder what really goes on in the backrooms of PR agencies? Are “secret” incantations recited from antique scrolls or do server farms yield up the magic of 21st century client promotion? Well, from a review of some recently published “secrets of PR,” it seems there’s not much new under the sun to be found among Google’s 110m citations and 5.9m blog posts.
A quick stroll through some of the so-called “secrets” reveals that old myths are alive and kicking -- while new thinking, alas, remains in short supply.
Now, the challenge is no longer whether you can get someone's attention, but can you keep it? And can you keep their attention long enough to get them interested in your message, business, brand, or product to turn contacts into evangelists?
It's not enough to get mentioned in the news. While it's great, that alone won't sell your stuff. You have to get in front of enough people in a very interesting and unique way. You have to get them to fall in love with your message so much that they'll talk about you, Tweet about you, and tell all their friends to go buy whatever it is that you're selling. The new PR is really about the consumers and the message.
If you want to get into publications like The Washington Post or Newsweek, don't pitch them -- blog on them. Both of these sites have added a new "Blog Round Up” box on their sites. It reports on people who have blogged on their stories. All techie-babble aside, here’s what you do: blog on one of the articles on their site, link it using a trackback link, and submit this to Technorati.com. This site will report back to these publications and they’ll link to you (and your site) -- and voila! A feature on Newsweek -- or whichever publication you choose!
1. Think about what’s happening in the news right now. How can you become a part of the story?
2. Think about current consumer trends. Where are consumers heading?
3. Provide a comment if there's a story in the news that affects your business.
4. Make the news yourself.
If you have a decent-sized database, run a regular poll of your clients on issues that relate to your business.
Once your public relations firm has landed an interview for you, it’s your turn to spin the media opportunity into gold. The following are some media relations tips to ensure that you maximize your media interviews:
1. Know your topic
2. Warm up
3. It’s your event
4. Show passion
5. Look to the problem
6. Believe in your message
If you are rolling out a new product or service, here are three quick tips to generating media buzz with your press release:
1. Find the hook
2. Look for lulls
3. Pick up the phone
A pitch that warrants a great in-depth story is going to require a great, in-depth pitch -- and email just isn’t always the way to go.
First ask yourself: Is a phone conversation even going to do it? If not, then invite the media person to drinks, coffee, lunch, or a deskside appointment. Face-to-face time is wildly more valuable and wildly more productive.
If a phone call will do, make your call wisely.
Remain calm and cool.
Entice him or her to respond.
Try calling on Fridays.
Keep deadlines in mind for different outlets.
My rule of thumb is to always imagine that you’re sitting across the table from the person, enjoying a coffee. Your phone call should feel like a respectable and succinct conversation.
Here’s my 10-step plan to writing a good media release:
1. Get the layout right.
10. Send it out! Develop a list of targeted media outlets, and don’t overlook online PR release sites such as www.free-press-release.com and www.prweb.com.
No More Secrets, Please
The quoted columns deal with core PR tactics and techniques that every front-line practitioner must master. I do not endorse or necessarily practice any of these “secrets.” I simply, and humbly, offer them up as an overview of typical PR insights as a guide that may prove helpful in cutting through when you are in the market for a new PR agency.