April 11, 2013
In the past 15 years the world of PR has changed dramatically, with more graduates in the field; the market has become greatly more competitive and at times, it can be bloodthirsty. Therefore standing out from the pack is crucial.
Journalistics has provided some skills on what most employers are looking for in public relations assistance today.
The ability to write in the world of PR is essential. Whether you studied Communications, Journalism or Public Relations, there are primarily four things that will likely be asked of you by your future employer to deliver: sample articles you wrote throughout your degree or diploma, a variety of writing samples such as press releases or a blog post, new media writing samples, and long form writing such as a research report.
These writing tools are likely to be requested by an employer so they can gain an understanding of your work and capabilities. It is important to be aware that a writing task may be part of the first or second interview, so having examples prepared is a good idea so you don’t feel so on the spot.
Showing you have previous work experience can be the difference of what gets your foot in the door. A clear demonstration of places you may have pitched ideas or gained experience working on clients can assist an employer and will make a stronger impression. This is particularly the case if you can use a case study as an example. The results generated should be the focal point rather than the press releases you wrote.
Social Media Experience
If throughout your university experience you developed a presence in social media, for example through a following on Facebook or Pinterest, this may help with securing your first role. Employers are looking for employees who can manage their brands across a range of different outlets. Being able to use and understand these tools is more fundamental than the content you have shared in the past. The ability to show you understand how to gain greater traffic to sites such as using analytical tools is also a bonus.
Be mindful, employers these days are likely to look you up on social media before finalising their decision. So therefore you should ensure your profiles are up to date, and when looking for a role in PR, it wouldn’t hurt to be on Linked In or Twitter.
Multimedia experience is a real bonus however hard to come by when just out of university. These are unique skills and most employers will not expect these from a recent graduate. However, if you have during your years studying gained skills such as managing a blog, using Photoshop, how to shoot, edit and post videos on social media platforms such as You Tube, or how to code, these skills would be extremely hard to pass up by an employer.
What skills do you look for when hiring a recent graduate? Are there any must-have essentials?
Read the full article here.
February 7, 2013
A media release is a written piece of communication distributed to specific journalists to announce something newsworthy. They are a great way to disperse information about your business, gain media coverage and communicate with your target audience.
Media releases have specific structure and style, which we have outlined in ‘Tips for writing a great media release’.
Some other useful tips highlighted by Under 30 CEO include:
- Put yourself in your target audience’s shoes
When creating a media release it’s important to think about what your target audience will be interested in. By appealing to your target audience they are more likely to read your content and take note of your key messages.
- Be consistent
When communicating with your target audience it’s important to have a consistent message across all of your communication channels.For example, when distributing a media release you should make sure it is sent out to journalists all on the same day. On this day you should also put the media release on your website and social media channels and inform any internal staff.By releasing the news to all channels at once you can inform people at the same time and reduce the risk of your information being misinterpreted.
- Get your information found online
People are now using the internet to search for information and current news. If you want more people to find your media release online then it’s a great idea to optimise your content.When uploading your media release on your website, blog or online distribution service you will often be promoted to add relevant keywords to it. This is a great way to help your media release appear higher in search engine results and may help you reach a wider audience.
- Keep it simple
When writing your media release don’t use over complicated phrases, extra long paragraphs or jargon. Your target audience is more likely to receive your message if you write in a clear, easy to understand manner.
Have you achieve media coverage from a media release before?
Read the full article here.
November 27, 2012
Don’t get disheartened, there are many reasons a journalist may have turned down your media pitch. If this happens to you, there are some steps you can take to still get media coverage.
Here are some reasons why a journalist may not have been interested in your media pitch.
- Timing: You may have pitched your idea right before a breaking news story. Journalists will then be extremely busy gathering the latest information about the breaking news and may not have time for other stories. There’s not much you can do about this, except re-pitch your idea when the breaking news is over, if your pitch is still timely and relevant.
- It’s been done: A journalist may have already covered the topic you have given them. If your story idea doesn’t provide the journalist with a fresh angle they won’t write about the same topic again. You will either have to come up with a fresh angle or hope they keep you in mind next time they write a story on a similar topic.
- Interest: Each journalist has a preference for the kinds of stories they are interested in. If you are pitching to the media it’s then your job to find out what those interests are. You can do this by reading their articles, looking at their bio, finding them on LinkedIn or searching to see if they have a blog. With this information you can then gain an insight into the topics of interest to the journalist. This will help you to pitch ideas that a journalist is more likely to say yes to.
How to still get coverage
If your media pitch has been rejected, there are a number of different tactics you can implement to try and get media coverage with the same pitch.
- Pitch it somewhere else: This one is an obvious tip, but ensure to personalise the pitch before sending it somewhere else. If you send the pitch to another journalist but don’t update their name they may become angry at you or ignore the pitch.
- Edit the pitch: If the journalist gives you feedback on why the pitch wasn’t interesting to them, take their feedback on board, edit the pitch and send it somewhere else. If you didn’t receive feedback from the journalist, have a brainstorm with your colleagues or mentor to figure out what you can do to make it more interesting.
- Target different media: Did you write the pitch with a specific industry in mind, for example a travel journalist? If so, you may be able to adapt the pitch to suit a journalist from a different industry such as hospitality or marketing.
Write the story yourself: You can write an article or blog post based on the media pitch. Many trade publications are looking for good quality content and will happily accept submitted articles. You can also post the article on your company blog, if you have one.
Sometimes, as hard as you may try, you just have to let the pitch go and accept it wasn’t the right time for it to be published. When pitching to the media, not everything you do will yield fantastic results. Public relations is a long-term commitment that requires effort, creative thinking and resourcefulness in order to be successful.
October 25, 2012
LeadingCompany reports the document was published without authorisation and even had a large space that was to be filled by a quote from chief executive Larry Page.
Once information has been published it’s impossible to take it back or stop people from seeing it. As shown with the example from Google, publishing information at the wrong time can lead to a PR disaster as Google’s shares went down by 8 per cent.
This is an important lesson for businesses to always make sure the information they release is correct, complete and timely.
Here are some tips to help you time the distribution of your media release.
- Generally the best time to send out a media release is in the morning on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. This is because journalists are more likely to be away or not at their desks on Thursdays or Fridays. It’s best to send it in the morning so journalists have more time to write an article.
- Consider a journalist’s deadline and send the release before it. For example if you’re sending a media release to monthly magazines their deadline is usually three months in advance. This means you need to send them the release in advance or have a topic that is still relevant three months later.
- If your news is urgent then release it straight away. For example if you are launching a new product you need to send the release as soon as the product is launched. If you wait too long your story will be old news and may not be covered.
- If you story isn’t urgent then pick the best time to send it out. If you know there is going to be a huge news story on a particular day then hold off sending the release until it’s over. For example, no matter how newsworthy your media release is, if a new Prime Minister had just been voted in there won’t be space in the news for your story. Hold off until a few days after the election or before.
- Consider the type of news you want to release and where you want it to be featured. For example if you want if to appear on the six o’clock news you need to plan enough time for a camera crew to take some footage and edit it before the news airs. If the media release is for an online publication then it could appear immediately.
Timing is everything in PR because it can make the difference between getting 10 stories in different publications or one small story at the back of a newspaper.
Have you ever sent out a badly timed media release?
October 23, 2012
Surveys are a great way to present your business as a valuable source of information and enhance your credibility. You can write a media release to share the survey results and include quotes from an appropriate spokesperson in your business. This will help to position your business as an expert on a particular topic and build your brand.
Journalists often include survey results and statistics in their articles because it provides evidence to support specific points in the article. Statistics also provide validity and credibility to the article making it more believable to the reader.
If you decide to conduct a survey don’t just ask your employees or clients to answer questions about how great your business is. The survey needs to be objective and scientific to ensure the results are accurate and legitimate.
Here are some tips for creating a great survey.
- Conduct the survey around a topic that is relevant to your business or industry. If you chose an irrelevant topic the survey won’t be beneficial to your business.
- Be topical. Choosing a theme for your survey that is topical and linking your business to it will help pique the interest of journalists. For instance, a survey that links your target industry with the use of social media marketing.
- Don’t ask radical questions to try and force the results to be interesting. Sometimes the most basic questions will produce surprising or newsworthy results. Journalists will also be more interested in results which are objective.
- Don’t create the survey solely around your business and how great it is. Journalists won’t write a story about the percentage of people who like your business. The survey results need to benefit your industry or the general public by providing interesting or valuable information to them.
- Your survey must have an adequate sample size to ensure the results are accurate. This will depend on what you are surveying and if you have a good representation of people participating.
- You can think about hiring a reputable research company like News Poll or Galaxy to undertake a survey on your behalf will lend credibility and reliability to the results, giving it more chance of getting picked up by the media.
- However if you are lucky enough to have a large database, particularly in one sector, you can use Survey Monkey to can run your own survey and it will produce interesting information relevant to journalists writing about that sector.
After completing the survey
Present the findings: Once the survey is completed you need to present the findings in a clear and easy to read report. This report should be professionally presented and contain all the questions, results and methods from the survey. You should also include your branding on the document for example by placing your logo in the corner of the page.
You should ensure this document is finalised before you publicise the survey results in case a journalist requests it. You could also include a link to a PDF version of the results on your website.
Publicise the results with a media release: One of the best ways to publicise the results is by writing a media release.
Find the most interesting and newsworthy result from the survey and make this the main focus of your media release. If you have more than one newsworthy result then you should consider writing two media releases. However you should distribute the media releases a few weeks apart to maximise your coverage.
Include quotes in the media release from an appropriate spokesperson in your business. This spokesperson must be prepared to answer questions about the survey if a journalist wants to interview them.
At the bottom of the media release you can provide more information about the survey such as a list of the main findings and a boilerplate about the survey. This boilerplate should contain the dates the survey was conducted, the sample size, types of people surveyed and how the survey was conducted.
Send the media release: Make a targeted list of journalists who would be interested in the topic of the media release and email the release to them. Make sure you send out the media release as soon as the survey results are finalised. If you leave it for a few months it will be old news and journalists may not write about it.
You can also post the media release on your website and share a link to it on your social media channels.
Surveys benefit your business by revealing valuable information about your customers or industry while also giving you the opportunity to increase your exposure in the media.
Has your business undertaken a survey before?
October 16, 2012
A media kit is a folder containing information about your business, product or event. They are mainly used at events and for launches as a package of information for journalists to help them write their story.
The point of a media kit is to catch the eye of a journalist and make them want to write an article or do an interview. It should be a one-stop shop for all of the information journalists need.
As the world becomes more and more digital, media kits are being used less but they do have a place, if used correctly, but are more likely these days to be found on a USB stick rather than in a cardboard folder.
What should your media kit contain?
Depending on your business or the reason why you are using a media kit, this list may change. But there are a few basic items which should always be included to make sure your media kit is effective as possible.
- Contact details: for the person who can be interviewed, a PR contact or anyone else of relevance
- Information about the company/person: a succinct bio is enough, it’s to help the journalist and share interesting information they would need to research. Try not to make it more than three paragraphs for each person.
- A press release: Journalists will want to know what is going on and have some details about the event. Your press release should include quotes from the person who is available for interview.
- Images: if your media kit is digital you can put some images on it that journalists can use for their stories. Most journalists requite high-res, but if there isn’t enough space put them on as low-res and let the journalists know they can contact you for high-res if needed.
Some other options which aren’t as vital but you may want to think about are:
- Testimonials from clients or customers
- Annual report
- Outline of anything else the business/person is up to journalists may find interesting.
- Samples of your product
- Recent news coverage
Where to send your media kit
Just as with sending out press releases and media pitches, knowing when and where to send your kit is crucial. Before sending it out to everyone in the media, spend time researching publications and media outlets to know which ones are most likely to cover your company.
You may want to include a personalised letter to each journalist to introduce yourself, the company and explain what the media kit is for. This will help you to make a connection with the person you’re trying to reach, rather than sending them the exact same media kit you may be sending 100 other journalists.
If you do chose to include a product sample be aware some media outlets have rules surrounding accepting gifts. If you’re not sure, contact the outlet before you send the kit and don’t make the gifts too extravagant.
Media kits shouldn’t be used all of the time, but sometimes they do have their place in the world of public relations.
October 11, 2012
For many businesses the majority of their customers and clients are in their local area. This means gaining media coverage in local newspapers, magazines, newsletters, radio programs or TV programs may be more effective at reaching your target audience.
Local journalists are always looking for a local angle on a national story. For example if there is a job shortage in Australia and you are a recruitment company you could pitch your local media a story about how your business is helping people to find work locally. You may have a better chance of getting coverage in your region because national media publications will be covering stories about the government or have a broader focus.
It’s often easier to contact your local media publication than national media publications, which means you may have a better chance of gaining coverage.
The Small Business Playbook has provided some tips on how to pitch a story to your local media.
Target your pitch
It’s important to target your pitch to a specific local journalist and media publication. This means you need to explain why your story is suitable and interesting to the publication’s audience and why the story is local news.
Make it local
You will have a better chance of gaining a journalists’ attention if you have a local story angle. For example it could be how your business is helping the local community or maybe your CEO grew up in the local area. Make sure your story is not too promotional, it still needs to be newsworthy or a journalist won’t be interested.
Don’t expect to gain media coverage straight away. You might have to send many different pitches before a journalist is interested in your story. If a journalist tells you they aren’t interested then think about another angle that would be more appropriate for local news and pitch that in.
When trying to gain media coverage for your business don’t neglect local media. Customers often like to support local businesses therefore gaining media coverage in a local paper may lead to increased customer interest in your business.
Have you ever been featured in your local news?
Read the full article here.
October 9, 2012
Media releases are a great way to disperse news about your business and gain publicity in the media.
They are written in a specific structure and must contain current or newsworthy information that a journalist and their audience would be interested in.
Here is a basic media release template which you can use to write a great media release.
The headline of a media release should be catchy, interesting and summarise the key points of the story. It is designed to catch a journalist’s attention and encourage them to read the whole thing. Ensure you bold it.
The lead paragraph is the key part of your media release and contains the most important information. It is essential your lead is interesting, succinct and explains the main point of your story. It should answer the following questions, who, what, when, where, why and how. Don’t make the lead paragraph too long; try to keep it at two to three lines long.
The next paragraph should expand on the lead paragraph by providing more information. The body should be written in the inverted pyramid structure where the most important information is at the top of the release and the least important is at the bottom. If a journalist has limited space in the publication they can trim the media release from the bottom and the most important information will still be included.
Use short sentences and short paragraphs with active language. Always write in the third person.
Use quotes to make your writing more interesting but remember all assertions or opinions must be attributed to a particular person, or the organisation. The media are unable to use newsworthy assertions unless sourced, and they will often call to check on the quotes.
The last paragraph contains the least important information. For example background information or a summary of essential information about the organisation, event or person.
It is customary to finish the release with –ends- so the journalist knows it has finished.
Add the sentence “For further media information contact:” and include a contact name, email and phone number.
Boiler plate (About us)
The boiler plate is a paragraph or two about the business, event or subject of the media release. This information will give the journalist an overview and isn’t necessarily needed in the release.
For more tips watch our video How to write a media release.
Visit our YouTube channel ‘PR and Social Media Tips TV by CP Communications’ for the latest PR and social media tips.
September 20, 2012
Research conducted by Media Monitors has revealed the top group of people quoted in the media more often than anyone else, as reported by The Australian.
This year entrepreneur Dick Smith was quoted and mentioned by the media 13,684 times, making him the number one choice for most journalists.
Being quoted in the media 13,684 times sounds appealing however this number is unachievable for most businesses, especially if they have never been in the media before.
One way to get featured in the media more often is by positioning yourself as an expert in your industry and pitching your professional knowledge to a journalist.
Here are some tips to help you position yourself as an expert:
Actively look for media opportunities
Many magazines, newspapers and online publications plan in advance the special reports or features they will write about for the entire year. You can look for a publication’s features list on their website or call them and ask for a copy of their media kit.
When you look at a features list you can find upcoming topics that relate to your business. You can then email the publication and suggest yourself as an expert to discuss the topic.
Write an article
You can write an article about an important issue in your industry or provide helpful tips and advice. You can pitch this article to relevant publications in your industry and explain why it’s a great fit for their publication and interesting for their readers.
Write a blog
Blogs are a great way of sharing your expert knowledge and positioning yourself as an expert on a particular topic.
The key is to pick a topic, and stick to it. You should post regularly on your blog and aim to spark discussion and share experiences, ideas and relevant information.
Build relationships with journalists
One reason why journalists continually interview Dick Smith is because they know him, they know his area of expertise and they know he can provide great quotes.
If you do get an interview with a journalist you need to leave them with a great impression so they will consider contacting you in the future. Try and build a relationship with a journalist so they get to know you and get to know your area of expertise. Also be available for every media opportunity you are given.
By sharing your professional knowledge you can start to build up your status as an expert in your industry. This may help you to get noticed by journalists and be featured more often in the media. This will lead to more media exposure for your business and help to build your brand and reach your target audience.
Read the full article here.
September 13, 2012
Mashable reports that Apple has announced the launch of its much anticipated iPhone 5.
Before the product launched Apple successfully created a buzz around the iPhone 5 to attract potential customers, gain the media’s interest and promote sales.
This is a great example of how using a PR strategy can help your business successfully launch a new product.
Here are some PR strategies you can use to launch your new product.
What is newsworthy: Firstly you need to determine the newsworthy aspect of your new product, which is usually the unique selling proposition. For example the new iPhone 5 has a larger screen than the iPhone 4 and is lighter.
Create a buzz with social media: Before you launch the product you need to create interest among your target audience. A great way to do this is with social media. To generate conversation you could provide your followers with a sneak peak or give them a chance to test the product. If done successfully, engaging followers on social media will promote the sharing of information about the product and generate a buzz around the launch.
Write a media release: Send out a media release to key journalists detailing the information about the new product. If journalists are interested in the story you will gain media coverage in a range of publications. Don’t forget to supply high resolution images of your new product so people can see what it looks like.
Product reviews: Offer product reviews to key journalists or bloggers and send them a sample of the new product.
Hold an event: A product launch or event is a great way to gain attention from media and key influencers for your new product. By asking important stakeholders, like suppliers, clients and high profile people to attend your event you can boost your chances of gaining media coverage.
Don’t stop now: Launching a product is not a one day event; it involves an ongoing PR strategy. After the product launch you need to continue the momentum you created and keep customers interested in buying the product.
By using PR strategies to launch your new product you can reach more potential customers, raise brand awareness and increase your sales.
What strategies have you used to launch a new product?