Public Relations: All About the Relationship

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USA TodayWant to be in USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times or on Oprah? What about your local paper or niche business publications? Whether you have a big or small budget, public relations offers a perfect opportunity extend the reach of your messages and brand to multiple audiences. Stories that appear in publications (whether print or online) are viewed as more credible than typical advertising and a typical public relations campaign is a fraction of the cost of an advertising campaign. Wondering how to get started? Here are some tips:

Back to the Basics

Numerous tactics are available for creating a successful public relations program. From press releases to media advisories, community outreach and partnerships, media events, editorial calendars, online PR and media relations, your program should be customized to fit your needs. Not all companies are the same and certainly no two campaigns will be the same.

As a new builder wishing to garner media coverage in the Atlanta market, Rocklyn Homes began by creating talking points to express its USP (unique selling proposition) and pitching the news of its launch to reporters one at a time. Many times for news stories such as this, you can score coverage by pitching it to your preferred publication as an exclusive. The launch of woman-owned Rocklyn Homes resulted in a WSB Radio interview as well as coverage in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Forming community partnerships provides excellent opportunities for news coverage. From inviting area non profits to host their meetings at your location to sponsoring the local humane society because pets desire a place to call home, your partnerships are stories you can share with the media.

Events provide an outlet to showcase your expertise and your product. Greater Valley Group, located in West Point, Ga., held an economic forum to showcase the developer’s approximately $1.5 billion impact on the surrounding community. Held the evening before the grand opening of the Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia plant in West Point, the event provided a timely opportunity to reach out to reporters interested in covering the automobile manufacturer’s impact on the region.
Coverage resulting from the event included Atlanta Journal Constitution, Birmingham News, Columbus Ledger Enquirer, Mobile Register as well as regional television stations WRBL and WTVM, both from Columbus, Ga. Media continued to show interest in the developer weeks after the event with coverage culminating in a USA Today article.

Reviewing editorial calendars for targeted publications can help to identify stories planned for that particular publication each month. Knowing what topic a reporter plans to cover can make pitching your story easier. However, there is much more to the art of media relations than simply knowing what stories are on the publication’s editorial calendar.

Building and Maintaining Reporter Relationships

Forming relationships with reporters is key. Simply emailing them a press release or pitch doesn’t always work. Just like you are more likely to buy from someone you know and like, reporters are more likely to “buy” a story from a PR person that they know, like and trust. You really have to talk with or meet reporters in person to start to build a relationship. Through ongoing personal and professional interactions, you will understand the types of stories they are seeking and how you can help them.
When working with reporters, remember they are often on deadline. Your responsiveness (or lack of) can make or break the story. Make sure to respond promptly with the facts, background and answers they need. Above all remember your credibility and the next story you plan to pitch them depends on getting them the details they need.

Let us know how we can help with your next PR campaign! 770-383-3360 x20.