In my previous post, I outlined the first two secrets of highly effective publicity pros: understanding how the media works and doing your homework.
Here are three more secrets.
Secret #3: Develop good stories.
Publicity is the art of ethical storytelling.
One of the trickiest parts of the media’s job is to come up with fresh, relevant story ideas. Most newspapers and magazines carry only a small amount of hard news. Broadcast uses even less. A good portion of the coverage is devoted to feature stories, ranging from overview stories (that talk about what’s happening in a given industry or area) to human interest stories.
So identify the conflict, the controversy. Show how the story fits into the bigger picture. Provide context; explain what impact your story will have on people, businesses or the community.
Tell the media a good, true story. They’ll be grateful.
Secret #4: Balance traditional and “new” media.
These days, it is not traditional or “new” media. It’s both.
Although traditional media is shrinking, they still have prestige and credibility. People brag about being mentioned in The New York Times. I have yet to hear anyone brag about being mentioned in a tweet.
But make sure you incorporate online tools into your publicity program. That means:
- A good website with an online news room.
- SEO-optimized news releases.
- An active blog.
- Good profiles and activity on social networking sites like LinkedIn and (possibly) Facebook.
- And, if appropriate, posts on YouTube and Twitter.
Pay attention to both traditional and new media. It’s essential these days.
Secret #5: Write well.
One of the most common complaints I hear from reporters is the poor quality of the written materials they receive. News releases, in particular, are often poorly written, with fluff, superlatives and jargon. Grammar, punctuation and spelling seem to be ignored.
Reading some of this material inspired me to launch the Online Gobbledygook, Gibberish and Jargon Awards (http://www.GobbledgyookAwards.com). I encourage you to submit your favorite examples of terrible writing.
On a more positive note, I recommend that you let your drafts sit overnight and look at them the next day. Better yet, have someone else read them and see if they can identify the major messages. (If not, it’s time to rewrite.) Also read your drafts aloud and check their readability with Word’s Readability Statistics. It’s amazing what you’ll learn.
Learn to write well. You will stand out in the crowd. Really.
I’ll give you the last two secrets in my next post. In the meantime, more information about public relations is available on my website at www.CommunicationsPlus.net/PRArticles.html.