The Gallion Company
professionals in the public relations field we are often asked the same
question by entrepreneurs seeking media attention: "Why is it that I
see well placed articles spotlighting my competition yet I can't seem to
get anyone interested in MY business story?"
There are some business
owners that actually believe some people are luckier than others when it
comes to getting well-timed publicity in a targeted publication. In our
years of working with journalists we can clarify one thing for sure:
Luck is not part of a winning PR formula.
Those that succeed at story placements have learned the proper way to
court reporters. They also agree to play by the rules of the press. Think
about it from a reporter's viewpoint. All publications whether local or
national, receive hundreds if not thousands of faxed and electronic press
releases daily. Aside from the reality there are not enough proficient
staff to read through the prodigious flood of information, most of it is
self-serving advertising and not newsworthy. Here are four critical rules
of winning PR strategy you should follow:
Rule #1 - Don't try to sell a reporter on your product or service.
Pitch them a unique story instead. They know a sales job when they hear
it. It's a big turn-off. We all loathe someone trying to sell us something
we don't need. Now multiply that times 100. That's what a reporter feels
like every day in their office.
Rule #2 - Have a PR practitioner help you find and write your
Over 90% of all press releases submitted have poor grammar, spelling
errors and a complete absence of proper writing skills. This causes a
disconnect between the journalist and sender. Your credibility is shot
immediately. Any "luck" of getting a story just went in the
trash along with your press release. What is often missing from the
homegrown press release is a compelling storytelling style. Remember, the
reporter is a buffer between you and the audience. If your audience cannot
understand and follow what is written, they will certainly not buy what
you are selling. Your goal should be to tell your story better than anyone
else. This does not require luck, it simply requires common sense.
A good PR practitioner can save time and energy and often will write a
press release and help with distribution. In the end this is always money
Once you make it past the first two rules and have a proper press release
ready, you need to consider what the reporter will do for further
information. Almost always reporters will look at your website before
calling you for a story. Again, think like a reporter. The faster and
easier you can make their work, the better.
Rule #3 - Have a solid marketing plan in place before a PR plan.
Your website and marketing materials better be in top-notch shape. Your
company logo and image must be branded effectively and consistent. Trying
to get press coverage before your marketing plan is in place is like
putting the cart before the horse. So many overzealous business owners
make this mistake. A reporter on his own can deduct quickly if you are not
ready for PR. Their reputation depends on the readership interests and
approval. The information on your website must be in complete harmony with
your press release and all the marketing elements in alignment.
Rule #4 - Develop the relationship with reporters.
You must accept the need to communicate with journalists properly on their
terms, not yours. Take a local reporter to coffee. Exchange cards at your
next networking event. Journalists are interesting people and love to hear
about new exciting things. If they like what they hear, you now have an
"in" with that reporter. They will remember you and will be more
open to looking at your release. They are the ones that will get it in
print for you, not luck.
You now have some added clarity to the process of effective media
relations, which is an important and vital aspect of winning PR strategy.
Good PR practitioners are already well versed in these rules and are far
ahead of the average business owner when it comes to media relations. They
will have good relationships with reporters established and have
credibility when it comes to pitching your PR story.
Effective PR like many business elements comes down to this: "Good planning and preparation brings its own luck."
Copyright © 2008-2009. Michael Gallion & Vicky Gallion. All rights
Michael Gallion started The
in 2005, as a Public Relations and Marketing consultancy,
to help small businesses get started and off the ground.
They have more than 20 years of experience in the
communications and sales fields.
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