PR Fish Bowl

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TGIF: Creative Updates for Tired PR Tools and Tactics

Want to “break bad” from traditional PR tactics and tropes and get better publicity results? Examine the way you are executing the tried-and-true at your PR agency and be an agent of change!

“The press release is dead, long live the press release?” Lively debate on the state of the news release continues. Some say in the world of the 24/7 news cycle fueled by social media, it’s a relic, outdated by the time a journalist sees it. Others believe it’s still the best way to provide press with  facts and approved quotes. While most PR pros and companies aren’t quite ready to abandon the press release, some companies have reinvented it for the social media savvy and come up with exciting ways to get the who, what, when, where, why about their clients out in the media.

Recently, Amazon‘s PR team announced a new product rollout in a series of 14 tweets. Amazon kept its tweeted release together by using a branded hash tag and having each tweet focus on a different element of the new product. A traditional press release still appeared on BusinessWire and the Amazon website, but we commend the creative PR tactic that tweaked the traditional tool.

“Pulled a list from (fill in with name of online database)”  As great as these services are, they were never intended to be the sole resource for a media list. Rife with errors, misspellings and people who left long ago, they are only the beginning of your list. If you want to assemble a strategic list of contacts who will open your email and consider your pitch, try these simple tips:

Google your topic and see which media have covered it in the past.
Stalk media and bloggers on Twitter and other social sites. It’s a good way to determine their personal and professional interests. The Crenshaw Team recently unearthed a slew of pet-lovers among the press for outreach on behalf of a client event and clinched a couple of great stories.
Follow journalist posts on social media channels for other reasons. It’s useful for learning about their pitch pet peeves like how they prefer to be addressed or stories that have captured their interest in the past.

I left three messages for the producer.”  We’re all busy, and it’s often easier to communicate online. Many reporters feel the same and say so in their online profiles or voicemail greetings. So, instead of being classified as clueless, pitch cleverly. This often means nailing a catchy subject line to start and following up with something meaningful, not the dreaded, “checking in to see what you thought about xyz pitch.” 

“But emails go into a black hole.” Try a new tool. Email today is very sophisticated, and there are apps like ToutApp that can tell you if a journalist has opened it or clicked on links involved. It’s similar to how a newsletter service works, but you can use it with individual emails that aren’t in the newsletter template.

Often, a story needs feedback from media so it can be changed to suite their needs. You want to build a relationship with media contacts, not just “pitch” all the time.  Visit Muck Rack, which allows PR pros to connect with journalists and send pitches. Try communicating about anything other than your client as a way to start a relationship. Get on their radar by giving them a shout on Facebook or Twitter…a simple, “great read!” goes a long way.

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