The Top 10 Things to Remember
- Public Relations is a critical marketing tool that can be utilized for free. Do not underestimate the power of editorial content when exploring advertising options. Oftentimes, articles, news stories and blog posts can be much more effective at driving attendance and sales.
- Traditional journalists and bloggers operate differently. News reporters have more stringent deadlines and are often more formal than bloggers. On the other hand, bloggers are more casual and often cover more of a niche audience.
- The term blogger is loosely defined. All media outlets now have blogs, some people blog professionally, and some blogs are written by the mom down the street. The amount of educational training rarely determines a bloggers success.
- News reporters do not accept payment for publishing editorial content. Bloggers do. It is common practice for bloggers to publish sponsored, advertorial posts simply because of payment.
- Press releases and pitches can both be effective methods to get coverage for your event. Releases are more formal, formatted in a certain way, one page long and contain specific elements. Pitches on the other hand, are more conversational and shorter. Pitches can be done over the phone or via e-mail.
- Journalists and bloggers alike will be more gracious and likely to respond to your requests if you’re good at giving them what they want. It’s better to provide too much than not enough. Make sure they have every link, photo, keyword and resource that they might need to write the content desired.
- Concentrate on what sets you apart. Journalists and bloggers do not want the same cookie-cutter story week after week. Show them why you are unique; show them why you are different. Be creative and consistently work to incorporate new ideas into your events and your pitches and press releases.
- Research the publications you’re targeting and be sure that you’re approaching the right people. Lifestyle reporters, business writers, community calendar organizers all may be great contacts. However, at different publications things may vary. Pay attention to who writes what and when.
- Timing is always important. Be sure to solicit coverage in a timely manner before an event and be sure to follow up on the initial contact whether or not you’ve gotten a response. If you receive coverage, be sure to also follow up with a thank you shortly after the event.
- Always be aware of the necessity of relationship building. The goal is to build rapport with the bloggers and journalists. When you have an existing relationship it is much easier to approach them for favors in the future. And, when they feel like you are a reliable source they are more likely to cover your events.