The rise of the digital age has turned PR on its head and caused the industry to rethink its tactics with regards to reaching out to journalists and influencers. Traditional agencies refute the claim that the press release is retiring, whilst others rely on the telephone to communicate newsworthy stories to the press. Then there is the powerhouse of social media. Allowing you to connect with anyone from an A lister to your next door neighbour, the likes of Twitter and Facebook present the opportunity to complete a PR reach on a global scale, with just 140 characters and a click of a button. With so many PR tactics available, it is a constant wonder which one is most effective.
Until recent years, PR’s could only rely on a well written press release to gain exposure for a brand. However, as the rapidly progressive world of digital continues to boom, using client time to create releases that are laden with copy and imagery can be time costly. Although it is great to provide journalists with as much relevant information as possible, it is easy for them to simply disregard a press release and let it go astray in their inbox.
Pros – A release can be uploaded onto a site within moments. Journalists will have all of the necessary imagery and copy to produce an article that mirrors a brands tone of voice and portrays them in a positive light.
Cons – When choosing to ‘sell in’ with a release, often a PR embeds it within the body of an email with the imagery attached. Consequently, no form of relationship is gained between PR and journo. Strong relationships play a crucial role in Public Relations and the power of a good PR/Journalist relationship should never be underestimated. It is always worth remembering that no journalist worth their salt will ever feature a product solely on a release.
A fundamental element to PR is forming relationships. Speaking to a journalist on the phone is a great way to build relations and get to know their personality. It is also the fastest way to get some answers!
Journalists receive hundreds of emails a day. It is easy for a generic PR email to get lost in their inbox, especially when they are on a deadline. Stand out from the crowd and pick up the phone, find out what they are working on and send appropriate suggestions fast! You will soon be known as the PR who is efficient and can be relied upon.
Pros: 9/10 you will always get an answer straight away. Emailing can be time consuming and at times, rather pointless as it is debatable as to whether the journalist will even see it.
Cons: Freelancers and bloggers can be a little hard to get hold of on the phone and an email is the only option. Therefore, many an email may be required. Do not be deterred! If you believe that your client is right for the journalists’ stories then persistence will pay off.
Try as you might, there is no escaping social media. Its presence has totally reformed the PR world and provides as another means to reach out to both bloggers and journalists.
It is incredibly important to remember the boundaries when it comes to social media. It can be a great way to contact bloggers and establish what they are interested in. It is also an exceptional way to determine a bloggers following and gage their personality. Most importantly, social media can save a PR a lot of time. If you are scouting for blogs to feature a client, the hashtag #PRrequest and some client info can aid in a great response. However, it is vital to remember not to mention the clients’ name.
Pros: Social media is a great tool to shout about not only what your agency is doing, but your clients also. Thanking journalists on Facebook and Twitter is always lovely and ultimately it is a great way to fly your own kite.
Cons: It is wise to remember that as a result of social media, journalists and bloggers have a voice. Always be polite and courteous, relationships can take months to build but only seconds to destroy. You do not want to be ‘outed’ on journalists’ social media platforms.
So there it is, the pros and cons of all PR methods. Although remember, it is called ‘Public Relations’ and it is exactly that. Use your personality and likeability factor.
Finally, and I cannot express this enough; only send samples and images that are relevant to the journalist’s story. It can be tempting to take a chance and send something that is ‘kind of……something like……sort of…..ummm could be relevant,’ but don’t! It wastes everyone’s time and may be the reason that you do not receive that all important ‘call in’ email next time.