Good publicity doesn’t just happen – it requires both targeted effort and strategy.
Sending out a couple “I’m so awesome” e-mails and waiting around for the NY Times to call ya ain’t gonna cut it.
I think there’s this common misconception that cool people just miraculous get cool media features (like today’s digitally demanded journalists have time to simply monitor super coolness and write about it).
That’s not how it – ever – happens.
To execute a successful public relations strategy, one needs three essential tools:
The pitch letter is an often overlooked element of PR. Many people believe if they create a killer press release and promo video, sending something like “Hey – check this out” will be enough to spark a journalists interests. Not likely, unless your email addy is the same as celebs, like Kim Kardashian’s or something @whitehouse.gov.
You’ve got to sell your story and the pitch letter is the perfect tool in which to accomplish that.
In today’s digital world, a pitch letter is usually via e-mail , thus it’s important to do two things: find a direct contact that will actually click “OPEN” and make the subject sounds so interesting that the contact will click “OPEN”.
A good pitch letter will communicate “why” they should care about the attached press release by emphasizing community and/or social impact, demonstrating how it’s relevant to their audiences, and ex[plaining what makes this pitch different or more worthwhile than the other 100+ pitches sitting in their inbox. It’ll be short and sweet (3-5 paragraphs max!) and won’t simply be a copy and paste of the press release into the e-mail body (you’d be surprised…). Think of your pitch letter like a movie trailer and your press release as the afternoon matinée – sell it like Clark Gables and Vivian Leigh in Gone With the Wind!
The press release is simply an announcement sent to media contacts that explains “who, what, when, where, why and how” of a story.
Whereas the pitch sells the story, and the press release tells the story. The press release will contain event details, links to more info (website, social, etc.), reference past promo, provide additional contact information, and approved to print graphics and/or promo video links.
A few tips for crafting a well-written press release:
Just writing one press release is rarely going to be good enough, especially if the media outlets you’re pitching to represent a variety of different audiences. Customize your press release for the media outlet you are approaching – it’s not a one size fits all thing.
Your media contacts are the broadcasters of the story.
No matter how amazing your pitch letter or press release is, if you don’t have any media contacts to send it to, it won’t turn into news.
For a lot of entrepreneurs, the first time they’ve coordinated with a journalist is the first time they’ve received a response to their press release.
Here are a few tips for working with media professionals:
Prioritize a Public Relations Strategy
As a PR consultant, I’ve worked with a number of companies that had a fantastic product but weak PR strategy, resulting zero brand awareness. Don’t let your fabulous business fail due to a lack of effective public relations strategy.
Remember: it doesn’t matter how great your product or service is if no one knows about it!
About Hannah Becker:
Becker Digital is a full-service Marketing and Public Relations Agency dedicated to empowering mission-driven organizations to reach their goals. We apply our expertise in community development, social media strategy, and public relations to connect organizational clients with today’s always-scrolling online users.