3 ways to take PR 101 to the next level

Are you ready to get more coverage? Make these tweaks to the fundamentals and you’ll be on your way.

If you’ve been to a public relations conference, media panel or industry event, you may have been frustrated by what you heard: the same old PR tips.

You know, PR 101 advice you’ve heard thousands of times throughout your career.

At its core, media relations is simple. It’s about making a journalist’s life easier by giving him everything he needs to complete a story with as little back and forth as possible.

PR isn’t all that complicated.

However, there are creative ways to take PR 101 tips to the next level to be more effective. PR 201, if you will.

PR 101: Know the publication and journalist you’re pitching.

It should go without saying that you should know the media outlet you’re pitching.

You should also pitch a journalist based on his beat, interests and similar topics he’s covered in the past.

Make it PR 201:

To take this basic PR tip to the next level, develop a personal relationship with the journalist. Read his work regularly, leave comments on his stories or start a Twitter conversation.

If the journalist is local, ask to meet for coffee to get to know one another face-to-face.

And when you send him a personalized pitch, don’t think of your message as a “pitch.” Instead, send a friendly note explaining how your story fits his niche or interests.

PR 101: Don’t attach large files or images to pitches.

PR pros still send pitches with attachments, despite being told not to

Make it PR 201:

To entice a journalist with high-resolution photography or video without sending attachments, place any images or large files accompanying your pitch in a Dropbox folder.

Make life even easier for the journalist by including photo credits in the photo’s file name and a Word document with photo captions in the Dropbox folder.

Simply share the link to the Dropbox folder in your pitch. The journalist will have everything he needs to complete his story, and you won’t clog his inbox with large files, or worse-end up in the spam folder.

PR 101: The news release is dead.

Sending news releases in the spray-and-pray fashion is dead (though you wouldn’t know it by looking at my inbox).

If you practice basic media relations, you probably still send one news release to hundreds of journalists without much success.

Make it PR 201:

There’s still a lot of controversy around the news release’s effectiveness, but some journalists like them, and others hate them.

The obvious tip would be to learn which journalists prefer them and which don’t.

If that isn’t possible, start your email with a clever pitch that provides the story’s backbone and main idea. Paste the news release at the end of your pitch, or to keep your email even shorter and easier to consume, include it in that Dropbox folder.

This way it’s there if the journalist needs it, but he won’t be put off by a long email.

What are some other PR 101 tips that you can take to the next level? Share your ideas in the comments.

Jessica Lawlor is a public relations professional and freelance writer in the Philadelphia area. She blogs at JessicaLawlor.com. A version of this article originally appeared on Spin Sucks.

Topics: PR

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