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You need to do your research to understand which newspapers, magazines, websites, radio stations and TV programmes your target audiences are following. Your PR campaign needs to appeal to the audience of each outlet you send it to.
If you send a journalist a press release that is completely irrelevant to their publication, they won’t bother opening the next email you send them. You’ll also reduce your currency with the media if you send them something that they don’t really think is a story; company anniversaries may be of interest for your team, but they’re unlikely to interest journalists unless they are a significant milestone. If you’re not sure whether your story will whet the appetite of the media, ask someone in the know – run it past a friendly journalist or PR professional. The last thing you want is to go the time and expense of coordinating a PR campaign on something that doesn’t really merit it, to subsequently have a really good story ignored because the journalists think you’re a time waster.
You need to write a press release that makes the journalists’ lives easy. It should be written in the style of the target publication, so they can copy and paste with minimum effort. Also, journalists can receive hundreds of emails a day. You need to catch their attention with a pithy email subject line and a great, succinct, covering email.
You need to send your public relations campaign at the right time. Magazines have long lead times (from two to six months); you need to research what these are and submit your story at an appropriate time for each. You also need to know which day of the week different journalists are most likely to read your press release and time your campaign to optimise this.
You need to set aside time to make follow-up calls to the journalists. Nine times out of ten they won’t pick up your story first time round, but you are likely to get a much better response if you take the time to call them individually to see if they are interested in your story.
Not sure whether PR should be part of your marketing strategy? Read our guide here.