Whether you have been practicing PR for years or want to pick up some tips to expand your communications and marketing efforts, here are eight best practices in PR that are the foundation of any successful program.
1. Pitch a story, not the company, product, or service: The end goal of a PR campaign is to get the company’s name in front of its publics. Yet, rarely is the company and what it does are newsworthy on their own. The art – or science – of PR is to find a story that
a) is based on facts, statistics, outcomes and data,
b) relates to something larger – news, industry- or audience-specific challenge, and
c) is indisputably unique and shows how the company’s unique value proposition impacts the market or industry.
2. Good spokespeople are worth their weight in gold: Reporters are not interested in speaking to people who use canned statements and stick to the corporate line. They want to talk to interesting people that teach them something new and help them write their best stories. Spokespeople who are knowledgeable, articulate and passionate as well as aware of how to bring it all back to the company’s key messages are as good as a news story. Identifying, training, and nurturing such spokespeople can bring big wins to an organization.
3. Use various channels when doing media outreach: Most reporters prefer not to get phone calls from PR pros and, for the longest time, suggested email as primary means of communications. However, as reporters are now more easily accessible on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, it has become easier to get their attention there. Using all available channels when doing media outreach has become a standard practice.
4. Respect deadlines: Things happen and there are good reasons to ask for extensions or to reschedule interviews, and then there are reasons that can be avoided with advanced planning and care. Trust takes time to build and even longer to re-build once reporters consider you as unreliable.
5. Submit for awards given by industry publications: In the B-2-B world, if a product or an organization qualifies for an award, it is a good idea to apply. A relatively small fee usually covers the award logistics. Not only will the award garner nice coverage if the product wins, but the application supports the publication in its leadership efforts and gets the product in front of editors and a jury, which often consists of potential customers.
6. Build relationships with media before pitching a story: This tip is like diet and exercise – we all know what to do but there is always room for improvement. Building relationships with media does not happen overnight: reading what reporters write, sharing and posting appreciative comments on their stories and offering something without expecting any returns – all before pitching them a story – are PR practices to live by.
7. Amplify content and campaigns across all channels for maximum exposure: Everyone gets information from different channels full to the brim with news competing for attention. Re-purposing all materials (from news releases and bylines to white papers and webinar decks) across a variety of channels (from websites and social media platforms to intranet and e-newsletters) only makes sense.
8. Measure PR using consistent metrics: There are a lot of tools out there of varying capabilities and price stickers that can track placements in publications and on social media as well as measure the share of voice, reach, and exposure. Whichever metrics you select, it pays to use them consistently to track progress over time. Sometimes, the best metric can be as simple as the coveted publication’s readership, particularly when they are key decision-makers and influencers in a purchase.
What’s your best practice to add to the list?
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