How to get good PR

Posted: March 25, 2010 in marketing, PR, sales

Reading this piece today, I was reminded yet again that the more the world changes the more it stays the same.  We’re struggling to stay afloat in heavy seas of digital media and information today.  Part of what this means is that many of the people charged with presenting all of this information to us are, to say the least, overworked and under-compensated.  Now consider the hapless PR rep whose job it is to convince these people that there is yet something else for them to think and write about.  In fact, this has been the name of the PR game for a long, long time.

Good reporters and editors have always been skeptics, short on time, who have instinctively treated publicists like flies at a picnic.  Annoying, but part of the territory.  This instinct helps them separate the wheat of real news from the chaff of hype and obfuscation.   Strange as it seems in this hostile atmosphere there’s always the opportunity for publicists  and marketers to create goodwill for themselves.  How?  By making themselves useful. The best way is to appeal to editors or bloggers or influencers of your choice with material that they would have written. But to do this you have to “hear” your pitch through the ears of the people to whom you’re pitching.  You have “read” your press release through the eyes of the editor who’s seeing it for the first time.

Editors and reporters have always griped about PR people who are clueless about the writers’ likes/dislikes, ignorant of what they cover, and oblivious to the relevance/irrelevance of the story. A PR pro, on the other hand, knows that “news” is a product in its own right.  News is what people want to buy, not necessarily what you want to sell.  So, what is it about your story that will make people who know nothing about you willing to buy (want to read) it?  Publicists and their clients who understand this principle are the ones who get good PR.  Same as it ever was.

Make your pitch compelling by making it relevant to person you want to write about it.   Nothing less will do. You make it relevant by appealing to the specific interest shown consistently in the content of the writer’s columns, blogs and stories.  No magic formulae here. What rings this influencer’s chimes?  Probably the same thing that’s rung them in the past. Do your homework and find out.   In meantime, remember this quote from Benjamin Frankin who must have had PR people in mind when he said it: Either write about something worth reading or do something worth writing. Sage advice from the sage.

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