The information on this page is an excerpt from the FabJob Guide to Become a Public Relations Consultant. It is only a small sample of the valuable information contained in the 150 page complete guide.
Whether either side wants to admit it, public relations folks and the media have a symbiotic relationship. In other words, they need each other to do their jobs well.
Because each has a different agenda, there can sometimes be animosity between the two. Therefore it is to your great advantage to build a reputation for only submitting newsworthy press releases, responding to their inquiries in a timely manner, and considering their preferences in your dealings with them.
Media people often complain about PR folks who send press releases to publications that obviously do not cover that issue. For example, a press release announcing a bank executive’s promotion should be sent to a business or banking publication not one that targets teenagers. Analyze publications to determine their focus, audience, and writing style. Then decide who is best to receive your information.
One of the first things you should do is create a media list for yourself. This is basically a list of all the media contacts that are important to your job. Use whatever format is most helpful to you electronic database, collection of business cards, or a chart in your word-processing or spreadsheet program. There are also companies who can do that for you, primarily if you plan to send out hundreds of releases nationwide. Companies that offer media lists for a price are:
Alternatively, if you only need a list of trade publications which serve certain industries, spend an afternoon at the library and peruse through Bacon’s Directory of Magazines or log onto Gebbie Press.
What you want to note by each media contact is name(s), phone numbers, email addresses, and website.
It’s also important to note how each of these editors wants to receive your information. Some prefer fax, others want email. Snail mail seems to be the least popular. Also find out if calling to follow up on a critical press release or query is acceptable.
Find out when their "crunch" periods are. This is the time just before a deadline when calling them would really put you on their black list. Asking these questions shows you are considerate and interested in making their job easier. I also kept a running log of my phone calls and conversations with each publication.
Make notes about the writing style of the publications. Are they formal with big words? Do they like photos? Anecdotes? Sidebars? Some trade publications do not accept product announcements. Others don’t take press releases at all. Note those in your media list also.
Include a copy of their editorial calendar. These will tell you the topics the publication is planning to feature in the next 12 months, the deadline for submitting, and the editor’s name. This information is available just for asking and is often on a magazine’s website. If your topic is related but not on the list, submit a query anyway. Most publications don’t devote an entire issue to just one topic.
Some people call first to see if there is an interest in a topic. Again, this depends on what kind of relationship you have with the reporter or editor. When you do get an acceptance, write the release in the same style as the publication (reading level, use of anecdotes and/or quotes, etc.)
The next section of the guide explains how to write press releases.
The above is only a small sample of the information contained in the FabJob Guide to Become a Public Relations Consultant. The complete guide includes many other public relations tips and techniques, along with detailed information on how to get hired as a public relations consultant.
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