By David A. Greenwood, Former Director of Public Relations
What is public relations? Many mistake publicity for public relations but the true art of public relations is so much more. Public relations helps to build a corporate image, create much needed awareness for a product or service and it helps to raise the profile of an entire organization.
A solid public relations program also helps to shape perceptions and educate the public to take action, volunteer, donate money or buy a product or service. And, if you’re in the unfortunate situation of defending your reputation, good public relations skills can help prevent potentially damaging issues from impacting your business.
Public relations is a very powerful and effective tool to help get the word out and tell your story. But if you break some of the rules below, you’re almost certain to get nowhere in your quest for attention.
Know what news is.
News is anything that creates impact, is timely, has human interest, is odd in nature, creates conflict and is unique such being first to the market with a product or service. If what you’d like to contact the media about doesn’t fall into of these criteria, take a step back and re-assess your pitch.
When you’re thinking about calling the media to publicize a certain event or noteworthy happening, always have written materials ready to forward. Don’t just call without having something such as a press release ready to go. Most editors will say, “Send me something.” If you don’t send it immediately, they may forget you.
Learn to take “no” for an answer.
That’s right! While part of public relations is selling your story, there comes a time when persistence will not pay off and in fact damage your chances of ever receiving coverage again from a particular journalist. Know when to back off.
There’s not much to say about this. Don’t ever lie to a reporter. If they find out you’ve been untruthful, you can say goodbye to any future media attention. At least good attention.
The days of the people passing the “big check” photos are over. Most people don’t care. Go out of your way to be creative and the press will come.