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PR

The do’s and don’ts of good PR

Katie Olver, MD of tech PR agency Momentous, shares her top tips for working with journalists

Positive editorial coverage is worth its weight in gold - yet many companies don’t know how to work effectively with the media. Here are some basic, but invaluable, tips on the do’s and don’ts of good PR:

Do

Know your market. Successful PR is all about reaching the right audience with a message that is appropriate and meaningful to them. If you fail to know your target audience and the publications they read, implementing the rest of your PR actions will be virtually useless.

Develop several newsworthy angles that showcase your message. Emphasise timely information, such as industry trends, statistics, new technology or products, do-it-yourself tips, techniques or strategies and useful advice.

Build a working relationship with the press. Get to know the editors and writers and the types of topics they cover before you make contact. To optimise your chances of coverage, it pays to get an idea of the type of story you need to present.

Offer content. Opinionated editorial pieces are one of the best ways to get into print. Editors of newspapers and online magazines want quick commentary on the ever-changing news cycle, from experts who can illuminate different angles of stories as they unfold. 

Volunteer to provide a feature article or an opinion piece for their publication. Topical and timely pieces can see you positioned as a leading authority on a particular topic, and journalists will start to come to you for soundbites when writing on this topic in the future.

Seed in case studies. Results speak volumes in securing PR opportunities. Being able to demonstrate qualifiable results with your customers can help you to secure coverage within trade and industry-specific publications.

Enter awards. Being a finalist or winning a business awards scheme is an excellent way of gaining PR as well as recognition and credibility for your business. You will benefit from increased sales, widespread credibility, valuable exposure within the business community and the media, boosts in employee motivation and increased levels of traffic to your website. Even if you don’t win, simply participating could open doors you didn’t even know existed.

Keep your promises. If you schedule an interview, be available and on time. If you arrange to have materials sent to a journalist, make sure they’re actually sent. Journalists work to tight timeframes so when you fail to deliver what they’re expecting, they don’t have time to come back looking. They’ll move onto another, more accommodating source.

Don’t

Ignore small media. Just because someone is interviewing you for a blog site, doesn’t mean they won’t be editing the most prestigious trade title tomorrow. Furthermore, small blogs, publications or media outlets all have loyal readers, viewers and listeners.

Assume the journalist knows about your industry. Especially if they are from a general interest publication. Provide background data, give real-world examples and avoid industry-specific jargon. Spell out acronyms at least once and explain the relevance of any news you may be discussing.

Forget social media. Both Twitter and LinkedIn are two social networks that cannot be ignored by companies today. Twitter offers a great platform for sharing your news and discussing current industry events, helping to further establish yourself as a thought leader in the industry. Furthermore, most journalists use Twitter so your presence there can help to cultivate important relationships.

Katie Olver is the founder and managing director of tech PR agency Momentous, which works with clients such as Samsung and Microsoft. She is also the founder of UStar Novels, which publishes personalised books and romance novels. Ustar Novels won ‘Business Plan of the Year‘ at the 2006 Startups Awards.

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