We want to talk a little bit about public relations and the notion of luck. Some may perceive PR as just luck of the draw, but others understand the work and thought that goes into each and every campaign, pitch, release, and conversation. In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day (and to show how to take the “luck” aspect out of PR), we’ve outlined a few ways to ensure your efforts are working towards success—rather than your having to sit back and roll the dice.
DO your research.
When preparing pitches, one of the most important things you can do is research who you’ll be pitching. Rather than writing a pitch to send to the masses, craft a piece that is tailored to what an editor would find interesting and most helpful for editorial purposes. This also includes timeliness (meaning you are pitching topics relevant to the time of year), and making sure you aren’t pitching when there is a crisis engulfing the majority of the media coverage.
Be conscious of who, when and what you are pitching, and your brand will benefit.
DO be personal (and helpful).
One of the most rewarding parts of working in public relations is building quality relationships with others in the industry. Being personal helps you connect with the media on a on a higher level than someone who’s blindly pitching the same contact over and over again without a care in the world who is on the other end of the email.
From past PR events with media, we learned that editors are looking to work with publicists who offer helpful story angles, product ideas, and access to experts. Being helpful can be the start of a great relationship between you and a media expert. So take the time to write a considerate message and avoid being a PR robot.
DO follow up, follow up, FOLLOW UP!
Editors’ inboxes are flooded with emails from publicists fighting for attention 24/7. So don’t get discouraged when you do not hear back right away. A thoughtful follow up can be the difference between a successful placement and missed opportunity. Sometimes that is all an editor needs a reminder of the information and resources you are offering them.
DON’T send mass pitches. Like EVER.
Mass pitching can cause mass destruction—okay that may be a stretch, but sending pitches to a huge list of contacts is just asking for trouble. As public relations experts, it is our duty to ensure we are using not only our time wisely, but editors’ time as well.
When we send mass pitches, we are neglecting our responsibility to be of service of the media. Think along the lines of being a resource for editors to trust when they’re in a pinch, rather than a pitching machine throwing information out to see what sticks. Positioning you and your brand as a helpful source also helps nurture and build relationships. You see—this all comes full circle!
DON’T be rude (seriously, this still happens).
Whether you are in PR or not, it is crucial to seek to be kind and of service to anyone who you encounter in the business. Though this seems like a no-brainer, you need to make sure that any and all contact you have with an editor is intentional. This means doing your due diligence, and more: do your research, build relationships, follow up with answers to interview questions, and be timely.
DON’T give up!
Effective PR takes a little blood, sweat and tears (okay, sometimes lots of tears). But some of the most exciting wins come from persistence and follow-up. Unlike other aspects of marketing (social media, ad spend, email marketing), PR can take more time to show success. It’s imperative that you communicate this to your C-suite to educate them on what all goes on behind the scenes of an account.
Not only will these pointers help you build relationships with editors and pitch proficiently, but your brand awareness is sure to grow through thoughtful conversations and continued follow up with the media. So this St. Patrick’s Day (and every day for that matter) take luck into your own hands and put in the work to build your PR abilities for you and your clients.
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