Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR
Public relations is a rapidly evolving machine, made all the more so thanks to the internet era and her technological innovations. If you think your firm might be stuck in a rut, you should first check that you’re not relying on these old-school strategies to reach a very new-school audience.
1. “Press Send” Press Releases
A blanket send-off of press releases to a sprawling excel sheet of so-called contacts, in the hopes of coverage by hundreds of media outlets, simply doesn’t cut it anymore.
On the one hand, the likelihood of reaching a journalist who doesn’t cover news even slightly related to your topic is high; on the other, most people today struggle with an overwhelming volume of email, and you risk being flagged for a day that never comes. When it comes to sending press releases, be smart- or you’re wasting your time.
Personalize your pitch, be concise and get to the point. Journalists can tell by a subject line whether or not your email is spam- “media alert”, “story idea”, or “press release” won’t exactly open the castle gates. To increase your odds of having an editor open your email, come up with a compelling headline for your subject line. Craft your pitch for the target audience of the media outlet in question, and address your recipient journalist by name in the email.
Before you hit send, check yourself: does your company’s announcement, product, service, or event add any value to their readership?
2. Neglecting Storytelling
The power of storytelling is typically overlooked by publicists or business owners, though the strategy as a PR tactic is almost unparalleled. Brilliant for helping your firm build connections with your audience and customers, storytelling is also an excellent way of putting you in the path of national media outlets, influencers, and online bloggers.
Even so, stay grounded: just because a story is big news for your company, doesn’t necessarily guarantee it is big news for the media. You need to pitch a story- not a topic, service, or product.
Skip the reliance on press releases, and pitch a story. Here’s a tip: aim for at least three story angles. Here are a few examples to guide you:
- Don’t just tell me, show me. Consider recording high-quality content and eye-catching photography to complement your piece;
- Create a user-generated campaign, asking followers to upload videos or images of them using your product. Garner stories of positive experiences with your brand, and create a hashtag so you can keep track of all the micro stories uploaded to your campaign;
- Focus on industry trends, challenges; be open to answering questions related to your product, service, or event; and
- Chase down real-life stories about customers who used your product or service and create a narrative around them. The truth is compelling.
3. Thinking Big, and Only Big
Coverage on major TV networks like Good Morning America surely never goes astray, but don’t this be your only target. Smaller publications, podcasts, blogs, or other alternative outlets might actually be your best bet to reach your target audience- and they may be the key to catching the eye of national media outlets in the long-run.
When it comes to PR, it pays to stay ahead of the curve. The landscape has changed, and your audiences with it- don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board.
About the Author: Ronn Torossian is CEO of leading PR firm 5WPR.