PR can be confusing but getting news coverage publicity for your business is not impossible. In fact, if you’re in business, publicity is essential to business growth and sales.
Here is a quick list of pointers to keep your writing and pitching on track. Use the tips below to build trust with reporters. Once you establish credibility, journalists will contact you when they need a dependable and knowledgeable source or expert.
- Avoid self-promotion. Within the word “newsworthy” is the word “new.” When writing a press release or pitch, be sure you have a fresh hook on a story, trend or issue. Your announcement must be timely, relevant and compelling to the public.
- Write tip-sheet style releases. To build your credibility, help people solve their problems. Think of it this way: People have a pain, and you have the medicine that will ease their discomfort. The tip-sheet format—similar to this post—is useful because it allows busy readers to skim content and glean nuggets of information. Our cognitive bandwidth is more limited than ever, so keep things brief.
- Do your homework. Before social media took over our lives (when was that??!!), PR pros had to research—without Google or the Internet. Those who wanted publicity ran to local libraries to peruse books and tattered newspaper clippings. Encyclopedias were commonplace as well. Today, access to information is a non-issue. Remember, virtually anything and everything resides on the web. Reporters and journalists on the other side of your pitch will likely try to poke holes in your story before they commit to covering it. Due diligence is a must.
- Think multimedia. Reporters expect to see more than words; they want images, action and video. They want to hear something. Have you considered using your phone camera to record your press release or pitch? These tools provide decision makers with an opportunity to get acquainted with your personality and communication style. Stand out by inviting journalists to connect with you on an exciting and deeper level.
- Understand the medium. Some stories have great visuals and are perfect for TV, video or print. For example, the demolition of a sporting arena is visually appealing but isn’t as impactful for radio news. Think about the elements available to you and how they can complement your words and storytelling.
- Answer the question: The paramount question every reporter and influencer asks when deciding whether or not to cover a story is: “Who cares? Why should I cover this story?” When you write your pitch or press release, be sure you can answer that question. Consider this powerful statement: How does my story affect and impact their audience?
I’m a no-nonsense award-winning professional radio news reporter, PR entrepreneur, online editor and speaker with 30 years of experience.
I broke into the fiercely competitive news world at the ripe age of 12. I brought the news to people (via my stingray bicycle) with an afternoon paper route in my hometown of Edison, New Jersey.
In 1980, I enrolled at Quinnipiac College in Hamden, Connecticut. I was hoping to write for Rolling Stone magazine. Then I found the campus radio station.
Armed with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communication, I began my career as a broadcast news reporter, on-air anchor and news director in the New Jersey/New York media market.
I’ve interviewed everyone from homeless people to presidents. I also had the privilege of being Deputy Director of NJ Governor Christie Whitman’s Office of Radio and Television and have worked as public relations director for a statewide nonprofit, The Arc of New Jersey.
In 2000, I opened a media relations and PR consulting firm.
I’ve won a bunch of broadcasting awards along the way and have been honored by the Edison (NJ) Chamber of Commerce as “Entrepreneur of the Year.” Also, I am a certified practitioner in Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP).
My latest accomplishment: Being named one of the ‘Top 75 Badass Women on Twitter.’
On the personal side, I’ve been married (to the same man) for 28 years. We have a grown daughter and son. We live in San Antonio, Texas and get back to the Jersey shore whenever possible.