DIY Public Relations: Do you like to do it………..yourself? (40 Year Old Virgin)
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I posed a question to my twosse (Twitter posse) tonight to find out what they are dying to know about public relations. Most of the responses came back, like @luckystartups, wanting to know if non PR people can do public relations.
The answer is…YES! (Duh.)
That’s not to say I want to put myself or others in my profession out of business–because that’s just not going to happen.
Business owners (and all busy professionals) spend their days building and maintaining strong relationships with customers, share holders, general public, etc… Trying to balance full time media and public relations support on top of that often times becomes unmanageable. (Insert public relations professional.)
Same concept. The reason successful public relations professionals are “successful” is because they are great at building and maintaining strong relationships with the media and the consumer community.
REMEMBER: No one knows your business or expertise better than you. (The public relations professional in your life helps to find YOUR story and to share YOUR story with the audiences who WANT and/or NEED to know.)
So, what to do if you don’t have public relations support? Here are a few basics to help you out:
Go to where reporters hang out. Check out the my personal favorite resource, Help a Reporter Out (operated by my PR idol, Peter Shankman) There’s also a new site, still in its beta stage–ReportingOn where journalists, public relations folks (or non PR folks) can exchange ideas. The great thing about both of these resources (besides being easy to use)? They are FREE!
Build a relationship. Reach out to reporters who are MOST likely to be interested in your content and say hello. That’s right. Begin to build the relationship before you ever pitch anything. Let them know you are a resource for them. How do you find reporters? That can be a time intensive task. If you use social media sites, like Twitter, check out Twello to find reporters.
Read their stuff. Most journalists actually like it when you have read something they’ve written. Pitching a reporter you’ve never read is a big no-no.
Don’t annoy. When you build a relationship with a member of the media, find out how they like to be contacted. If someone says the HATE being contacted via phone–don’t contact them via phone. Simple.
Pitch wisely. Reporters want the exclusive. They do not want news that is being sent to all of their competitors or, God forbid, has run in other media outlets. I’ve heard different rules on etiquette related to the exclusive pitch… I typically wait 5-7 days before selecting the next media outlet to pitch.
Respect deadlines. Media (and public relations folks for that matter) work on extremely tight deadlines. If you’re reaching out to them, be prepared to get them what they need in a timely manner. ALWAYS ask what a reporter’s deadline is–and treat it with the utmost care.
Thank you. If you’ve had a positive interaction with a reporter which resulted in media coverage for you or your business, don’t forget to thank the reporter. I send a hand written thank you note to reporters when a good story comes together.
Have other public relations questions you’d like answered? Let me know.