We recently read a blog post titled “Does Your PR Firm Need a PR Firm?” by Mike Melanson. Melanson’s main point was how hiring a PR firm can be tricky, especially for start-ups, because if you trust your new brand to an agency who isn’t going to educate the public correctly, that obviously isn’t a good start for a very new company.
Melanson discussed some techniques that some PR agencies have adopted including carpet bombing strategies and email bombing. After reading the post I decided to give a little lesson on PR best practices to inform readers how the LMGPR team does media relations.
Public relations is essentially developing relationships with the people you want to educate. By developing these relationships, you are able to influence these people to feel, act or believe a certain thing. If the essence of PR is developing relationships, I sincerely doubt spamming someone with irrelevant emails is going to develop that relationship or be very influential at all.
Sure, we understand that perhaps the more people you email the better chance you can get one of those people to listen, but that media contact may not be the best fit for the company you represent. I could email every editor in the world, but that won’t help my tech client if the only interview I schedule is with an editor who covers baseball.
The trick to media relations is remembering what the purpose of the outreach is from the beginning. You are helping your client establish relationships with the media contacts that will help that company influence their targeted audience.
In order to establish that relationship, it’s important to remember that not only can you send an email, but you can pick up the good old fashion telephone and try giving them a call. We understand that not all editors want to be called and prefer email, but that just shows we are researching these contacts before we make outreach because we want to build on those relationships. We are not just emailing to email, or calling to call. Everything we do for media relations is with a purpose and has a strategy. The end result is building those relationships with the key influencers in the industry so our clients can become influential as well.
So the best advice we can give others regarding PR 101 best practices for media relations are:
- Think like an editor, put yourself on the other side of the desk and know that you are not the only PR person contacting them
- Do your homework and know what they cover, what their interests are and build a positive relationship
- Don’t send a generic pitch; customize each pitch based off your research
- Correspond with editors based on their personal preference. Some like emails, others like phone calls and some even prefer Facebook
- Be respectful of the editor’s time
The bottom line is, in order to develop a favorable relationship with media and/or analysts, you need to be prepared and you need to have a strategy. And no, email bombing is not an acceptable strategy.
Some other key sources for learning PR 101 are: