Simply put, the secret to any strong PR campaign is planning and strategy.
While Remedy is a San Diego based PR firm, our team has had significant roles at agencies New York, San Francisco, Denver and elsewhere across the country. Although our client experience and roster of partners varies greatly (it has included top companies and properties in the real estate world, local restaurant groups, defense contractors and surf brands) the one thing that all our clients have in common is that when working with us, we follow these five guidelines each and every time.
1. Make sure your news is actually news to the media you’re targeting.
If you’re new to the earned media world (what many are calling PR these days), start by reading the publications (or watching the shows) you want to be on and retro-fit from there. What sort of stories do these media outlets cover? A trade magazine may be interested in something different than CoolHunting or the Wall Street Journal, so plan accordingly.
Feel free to personalize your press releases for the media you’re pitching. For one of our real estate clients, we often create one press release for the national trade media and a second for the local media being targeted. Two different audiences, two different stories. It takes more time, but the results are worth it.
2. Be realistic in your media targets.
TWICE may be interested in a new director being hired at a consumer electronics company here in San Diego, but the tech reporters at USA Today probably won’t be. Always keep point 1 in mind and ask yourself “is my news actually news for this reporter?”
3. Start your planning early.
PR/earned media takes time. Even the best global PR firm with the greatest list (BTW – Those lists won’t guarantee you success. Read our post about them here: http://remedycomm.com/2013/04/pr-myths-the-list/) still needs time to secure coverage, even if they ‘know’ the journalists being targeted. We recently had a San Diego client in MensJournal.com, based off a pitch we sent a journalist there in January. Even though the site publishes new content daily, it still took more than three months to see the feature.
In a similar vein, one of our finance clients was also interviewed in February for a syndicated news outlet and that story still has been published. That story will run… not soon enough for our liking, but that’s also the nature of earned media.
4. Go private with your social media.
Bill was recently interviewed about taking the “me” out of social media, but when launching a new PR campaign, you should not only take the “me” out, but you should go private altogether.
When it’s a major announcement, journalists like to be the first to break the news or in some cases, have the exclusive. Just like your consumers, they have access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, etc. To help ensure your news is viewed as news by these journalists, hold off on sharing it via social channels.
5. Keep in mind that PR takes time.
This is similar to point 3 above, but needs to be reinforced. Some interested media will turn your pitch around overnight, especially if it’s breaking news. However, many won’t. Even if they were receptive to your pitches in the past, the media climate is constantly changing and what worked for you last year, or even your competitors last week, may not work tomorrow.
As you develop your PR strategy, never forget that the media climate is dynamic and always changing. Even with great planning at the upfront, you may find yourself having to change direction in two weeks after launch. How can you tell? That’s a post for another time, but if you think your PR campaign me be sick, have a look at our PR Checkup.