So you want to be a media darling?
Public relations isn’t simply free advertising. In fact, it isn’t like advertising at all.
I wish I had a dollar for every person or business who asked me to help them “create buzz” about their product or service. Or better yet, can you make this video “go viral”? Alas, I would be a very rich woman.
Unfortunately, the folks that tend to “go viral” or make it big overnight are naughty celebrities, adorable kittens and shark attack victims. Not many of our clients can compete with that kind of content.
The PR business is misunderstood by many. In order to be successful, public relations needs to be linked to business strategy and executed with precision.
Let’s debunk some of the myths about PR:
Myth #1 -- PR is free advertising. It takes time, thoughtfulness and money to develop and maintain a strong reputation. In fact if a client wants to conduct a campaign that is too commercial or product-focused we counsel them to purchase advertisement space instead.
Myth #2 -- PR pros are spin doctors. We are not magicians. PR is not about spin. It is about ideas. We need facts, statistics, articulate spokespeople and an opportunity to create compelling content in order to get meaningful results. We can’t make things up as we go along.
Myth #3 -- PR is a one shot deal. Like any other discipline, public relations is a process. You have to start by listening, conducting research and really understanding what it is you and your organization stand for and why anyone should care.
Myth #4 -- PR is as simple as putting out a press release. An editor of a large newspaper once told me, if you want to attract the interest of a news organization, tell them something they have never heard before. Journalists receive hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of press releases a day. It is crucial to stand out. To do so, you need to ensure you are targeting the right journalist with a story they may be interested in. It is important to understand that a press release is not always the appropriate tool. Sometimes a well-written and compelling pitch is the key instead. Journalists will hit the delete button in nanoseconds if they receive materials that are irrelevant to them. Moreover, they will scoff at pitches and press releases that are full of errors and long-winded writing. Keep it tight, informative and above all creative. To cut through the clutter and noise you better have an interesting angle, solid facts and an articulate spokesperson to tell the story.
Most importantly, the best way to understand what news and social media want to cover is to read, watch and listen. Finally, think big picture and aim to craft your story in a way that makes you stand out.