How to create PR an editor actually reads
Between corporate communicators, marketing managers and PR account execs, a mind-
numbing overload of bogus “news” arrives daily in the offices of virtually every media
outlet in the country.
Too often it’s uninvited, unappreciated and worst of all, unread. For companies
clamoring for publicity, sending out news releases becomes a frustrating and fruitless
exercise that nets them exactly zero in terms of meaningful exposure.
This glut of seemingly worthless PR efforts has nurtured a culture of disdain among many
senior managers and business owners. “Why bother?” they ask. We send out releases,
but they don’t get picked up. The only alternative seems to be paid advertising – costly,
unpredictable and poorly suited for routine announcements.
And, unfortunately, many senior editors, bombarded by misguided messages, have the
same “Why bother” attitude.
There is another option: PR that works. To develop a system that gets your company’s
news items noticed, it’s necessary to get rid of the “P.R. B.S.” and debunk a few of the
lingering myths that kill effective business communications.
Myth 1: Editors are too jaded by the endless stream of standard news releases and need
something jazzy to stir up their interest in a company or its products.
Reality: True, the incoming flow from agencies and PR firms never ends. But do you
want to know why so many editors and news directors develop terminal fatigue when they
encounter the typical news release? It’s not just sheer volume; it’s the sheer irrelevancy
of too many of them. What they don’t tell you is relevance is all that matters. When there
is bona fide news of interest to the audience, any professional editor or news director
welcomes legitimate news releases.
Myth 2: Phone calls are a waste of time. The last thing an editor wants is a phone call
from some PR “flack” touting yet another product or promotion.
Reality: It’s true that useless phone calls from fresh-out-of-college, “I don’t know the
market or your magazine” beginners are an aggravation they all want to live without. But
most editors, even at major consumer magazines or high-powered media outlets, love to
talk. Chatting for a few minutes with somebody who has something relevant to say is a
welcome change of pace from the hard work of filtering the flood of useless information
that flows across the typical editor’s desk. As long as it’s a substantive conversation that's
leading somewhere, most editors are happy to spend a few minutes discussing the
relevance or even the background of your news event.
Myth 3: To gain maximum publicity, the bigger your distribution list, the better.
Reality: Nothing could be further from the truth. The goal is to get the media outlets your
customers or clients actually read to cover your company. A far better strategy is to pare
your list down to those publications and news outlets that have a solid connection to the
audience segments that matter.
Myth 4: Exciting promotional stunts and pricey giveaways – though expensive – are worth
the price tag in terms of follow-up publicity and media coverage.
Reality: Having spent much of my career in the food industry, I’ve probably received
enough edible gift baskets or sample-sized cartons of new food products to feed an entire
famine-stricken nation for a week. You know what happens to those goodies? The
package gets opened up, placed next to the coffee machine and by the end of the day,
the office carnivores have devoured everything but the box they came in.
Myth 5: Aggressive PR can replace good advertising at a much lower cost.
Reality: Take your expensive Gucci loafers off before you buy into this myth. You’re
about to shoot yourself in the foot and it would be a shame to mess up some perfectly
good Italian leather at the same time. Way too many press releases are thinly disguised
ad copy. When a release is filled with superlatives - best, unique, the leading company in
(fill in the blank), a world leader in (fill in another blank) – it almost always goes directly to
the round file on the floor next to the editorial desk. If it reads like ad copy, create an ad
and pay for placement. If it really is news, it will read like it and editors will be glad –
maybe even delighted – to pick it up.
The bottom line: Proper public relations is a cost-effective and efficient way to
supplement your company’s other formal marketing and advertising strategies. When
done right, your PR initiatives can cut through the clutter surrounding the media people
you want to reach.
They’ll pay attention to your message and thank you later.
Read Dan Murphy's thoughts on the subject by clicking here
It’s the only way Jolley & Associates does business. Maybe you should let us help you
grab a bigger share of your market.
To get started, got to the "contactus" page and tell us about your company.