There are loads of folks out there that think they know about public relations. But without experiencing it for yourself, it’s sometimes hard to put into words just exactly what the work entails and what it takes to be a success.
Here are some helpful tips to guide current and soon-to-be PR pros along the way:
1. Stay Connected
Check your newsfeeds. Check your email. Check in on your social channels. Then, do it again. Listening is one of the most important habits you can develop as a PR pro. Your finger should always be on the pulse of what’s going on with your clients and what your key audiences are saying about them. Even further, you need to know what’s going on in the world around you.
Don’t read a lot? You better start now. Knowing the buzz of the day/week/month will help better inform your pitch angles and should keep your creative juices flowing with the infinite story possibilities there are out there.
2. Pick up the phone
Ya, ya. We know. Everyone texts now. And when they’re not texting, they’re posting on their social channels. And when they’re not doing that, they’re on email.
Here’s what I’ll say. Learn to make picking up the phone your default for communication. If everyone else is avoiding it, chances are pretty good that the journo is going to pick up the phone when you take the leap and make that call.
3. Be respectful
Once you get your journo on the phone, there are exactly two things you absolutely should be doing before launching into your pitch:
- Introduce yourself and tell him/her who you’re calling on behalf of
- Ask them if they are on deadline and/or if they have a minute to talk
The second one is especially key. Not only are you demonstrating a small understanding of a journalist’s world, you’re being respectful of their time. If they say no, or that they cannot speak with you, ask them when would be a good time to give them a call-back.
4. Be prepared
As a nice little segue from the above, once you get a journalist on the phone, please please be ready to pitch. Have your notes in front of you and be buttoned up enough to be able to say you’ll send him/her a follow-up note with all of the details you just slung their way.
5. Follow up
In today’s culture of rapid response, it can be unnerving to not get a response immediately.
Hear me when I say: sometimes, a journalist just isn’t interested. And that’s OK.
But it’ll serve you well to remember that the follow-up call or email you make today is almost more about laying groundwork for the next time you call on them. Start building the relationship, and then maintain it. There’s nothing worse than doing all that work for naught.