Public Relations and blogging: A match made in heaven?

PR and bloggingIncreasingly, savvy companies are turning to blogs to complement their communications arsenal of press releases, newsletters and client communications.

While blogging is certainly becoming more mainstream, it’s often still not the first consideration for businesses wanting to increase their online authority, build relationships with potential customers and raise awareness of their products and services.

Blogging is a powerful tool for communicating your business’ stories. And in essence, that’s what Public Relations – PR – is all about.

Communicating the stories of your business in a compelling way engages new audiences, builds relationships with existing customers and positions you as a thought-leader in your field. This is a powerful way to assist the growth of your business in the long term.

Why blogging needs to be a part of your PR strategy

Blogging is a great way for your company to become a digital publisher. Never before has there been a time where any business can publish their own content  in a fast, efficient and cost-effective way.

Traditionally when a company had an announcement to make, they would use a press release via a newswire. Newswires still exist and have a place in your PR, but blogging is the newswire of the digital revolution.

Take control of your business’ narrative

How times have changed. With blogging as part of your PR strategy, you can take control of the narrative of your business and the culture and context where your business operates.

The ability to publish quickly and regularly is also a great  way to build thought leadership and convey the key messages you want the public to know about your company.

There are many ways you can use blogging as part of your overall PR strategy. Some ways include:

  • Announcing important company news to stakeholders, staff and customers.
  • Advising customers and clients of changes to products and services.
  • Establishing thought leadership through publishing original and cutting-edge content on a regular basis.
  • Turning readers into viewers by publishing  images and videos.
  • Writing about the culture surrounding your products and services..
  • Publishing deep, long-form content to showcase your expertise in your field

How to find PR content for your blog

The key here is to think like a reporter. You need to make sure you’re constantly on the lookout for newsworthy stories in your business as well as staying abreast of news items in the media that are related to your business. This way you can publish your own perspective and angle on emerging stories that are gathering traction.

So you can start to find interesting content in your business, consider some of the following:

  • New products and services: Let your readers know about your upcoming new products and services. Announcing this to your blog readers before the general public knows also helps your readers feel special.
  • Changes to your business culture: Are you experiencing any changes to the wider culture your business operates in? If so, comment on this to position yourself as a thought leader who is looking to the future.
  • Hot topics in the news related to your business: Jump on the back of hot topics in the news so you can ride the wave of popularity. When a topic is hot, lots of people are searching for information on that topic, so make sure your blog post is being found in those searches.
  • Changes to your industry: If you are seeing changes to your industry, or are privy to information about upcoming changes, show you’re on the cutting-edge of news by being one of the first to announce these changes.
  • Behind-the-scenes: People love seeing the behind-the-scenes of a business. Think about what people and processes you can share on your blog so your readers feel closer to you and your business.

Public relations and blogging are a match made in heaven. Blogging is a powerful communication tool that makes you a digital publisher who can craft the stories and narrative about your business and culture. Don’t miss out on what blogging can do for the PR of your business.

Do you use blogging as a PR tool? If so, what results have you had? Share your comments below.

Sydney Public Relations Agency, CP Communications provides specialist media, traditional and online PR strategies that get amazing results. Contact us today. For more great tips visit our website www.cpcommunications.com.au or download our free PR eBook http://bit.ly/ebookprcpc.

 

When to write a media release

Tell them your story smallA media release is one of the most effective ways of providing information to media outlets and it is often the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about public relations.

A media release can help you to communicate your news to a number of key journalists at the same time and can also help you get media coverage in a variety of publications.

Before drafting a media release, take some time to think about the publications you will be sending it to. Your overall goal for sending out a media release is to communicate your message directly to your target audience which means you will need to create a media list of appropriate publications. For example, a business that is in the travel industry would most likely target travel news and publications.

The most critical part of drafting a media release is to ensure it is newsworthy. The release needs to present news that is new, exciting, interesting and/or relevant before a journalist will consider publishing it.

Here are some events and special occasions where a media release would be most appropriate.

The launch of a new product
Launching a new product, such as an eBook is current and exciting news that your target industry and publications will appreciate.

New staff appointment
Sending out a media release about a new arrival to your business is a great way to gain media exposure in target publications. Ensure you send out the media release quickly so the announcement is still current.

Commenting on current trends in your industry through a survey
Conducting a survey is an excellent way to get publicity and present your business as a valuable source of information and enhance your credibility. Choosing a theme for your survey that is topical and linking your business to it will help pique the interest of journalists. After getting the results, find the most interesting and newsworthy result from the survey and make this the main focus on the media release.

An award win
Sending out a media release when your business wins an award is an excellent way for your target audience to see you as an industry leader.

New business wins
Industry publications will often publish media releases about business’ winning new accounts and signing new contracts. For example, if your business goes for a competitive pitch to win a new client have a media release ready to send to your relevant publications.

Business milestones and achievements
When your business has an anniversary or another important milestone write a media release with this as the angle. This gives you a way to discuss your business’ achievements and performance during this time.

Journalists receive hundreds of media releases a day; making it important for you to try and help yours stand out. Think carefully about how to write the media release and always find the hook to help grab the journalist’s attention.

Sydney Public Relations Agency, CP Communications provides specialist media, traditional and online PR strategies that get amazing results. Contact us today. For more great tips visit our website www.cpcommunications.com.au or download our free PR eBook http://bit.ly/ebookprcpc.

 

How to announce a new arrival to your company

Man on loudspeakerToday England announced the birth of a royal baby, the son of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The royal family chose to follow tradition and announced the new arrival by posting the birth proclamation on an easel in front of Buckingham Palace. The news was also announced by a town crier, Tony Appleton, outside St Mary’s Hospital, where the baby was born.

When announcing a new arrival to your business, should you be like the royal family and stick with a traditional strategy or adopt a more modern approach to the announcement?

Before making an announcement it’s important to first consider and plan your communication strategy. This will involve thinking about the audience you want to receive the message, who you want to reach with the announcement and the best channel and time for them to receive the news. For example, if you want to inform your employees about the new appointment of a senior manager you could send an email or arrange a team meeting.

Here are some tips to help businesses decide the best way to announce a new arrival.

Media release
You can send a media release about the new arrival to relevant media. This is a great way to gain exposure in a number of publications at the same time. By gaining lots of media coverage you can reach a wider audience with your announcement.

Firstly make a list of relevant publications and journalists who would be interested in your announcement, such as publications in your industry. It’s important to send the media release to the selected journalists at the same time to make sure they have an equal chance of covering the story. If you send out the media release in stages the announcement will no longer be current.

Social media
The Security and Exchange Commission announced this year that publically listed companies can use social media to announce company information as long as they inform investors first. Using social media to announce your new arrival is a great way to communicate to your customers and clients. Social media allows information to be dispersed quickly and directly to your followers, which means it’s one of the fastest ways to communicate a message to a large audience. Social media may then be an effective channel if you need to inform your audience of a new arrival quickly.

Your customers and clients also have the opportunity to provide their feedback about the new arrival on your social media channels. This is a great way to encourage your audience to become more engaged with the announcement and the business.

YouTube video
You can create a YouTube video to announce the new arrival to your company. The new member of your company can appear on the video and discuss what they will be contributing to the business. This can help your audience to get to know the new member of the team. You can then post the video on your YouTube channel, website and social media sites or pitch it to relevant online publications.

Direct channels
Depending on your target audience, you may want to announce the new arrival in a more direct and personal manner. This may involve sending out a direct email alert to your customers, clients and stakeholders. You may also consider calling your customers, clients or stakeholders to announce the news and to ensure they received the message. This will give your audience the opportunity to provide their feedback or concerns and allow you to address them quickly.

Planning your announcement is important to make sure your audience has the best chance of seeing it. You may choose to use a combination of communication channels to reach a wider audience in a variety of ways. Timing of the announcement is then especially important to ensure all channels receive the news at the same time.

 

Entry level skills for PR graduates

Business group looking downFinding a job first out of finishing your university degree or diploma is not always easy.  Preparation and having the right skills can be vital when searching for that perfect first placement.

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.

Writing Skills

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.

Internship Experience

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

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.

Four tips for writing media releases

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

What to do if a journalist says no

Have you spent hours carefully crafting a media pitch, sending it to a journalist, following-up a few days later with a phone call and they say no, not interested? So where do you go from here?

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.

The importance of timing in PR

Last week Google’s share price fell rapidly after a public relations staff member accidently published the company’s earnings report hours earlier than planned.

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?

 

Gain media coverage with a survey

If you are looking for a way to gain media coverage for your business, why not conduct a survey and publicise the results.

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?

 

What is a media kit and do you need one?

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.

 

Why you should pitch a local angle

Many businesses want to gain media coverage in all the top national and metropolitan news outlets and often forget about the benefits of local news.

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.

Be patient
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.

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