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How to Win in PR

By June 30, 2011January 29th, 2019No Comments

For the first time ever, we decided to run a PR, Analyst, Press and Social Media Masterclass at Infosecurity Europe. The idea was to give IT security companies an insight on how to win over the media and analyst community.

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The golden rules in winning in PR!

1. Sponsor imagination and creativity in your organisation. Encourage your staff to be creative & brainstorm regularly from the board room to the post-room – you will never know what your staff are capable of until you ask them!

2.  Content is still key – the more content you have the better, but it has to be really original to keep you in the news. That means producing regular non-product pushy articles, fast newsy responses to breaking stories, interesting relevant blogs, opinion pieces, analysts briefings, tweets and industry leader profiles.

3.  Energy and Enthusiasm does not automatically lead to Sales! – Journalists get (no exaggeration) thousands of press releases every day. You cannot just send out press releases and expect them to be published – you have to SELL STORIES IN!

4.  Knowledge is power – you must understand the story you are selling and have an understanding of the journalist or analyst you are pitching it to. There is nothing more irritating to a journalist than when a PR person phones up, but it’s not their beat! Some ‘PR’ people even phone without ever having read the publication. Do your research and don’t waste their time or indeed yours.

5. Chemistry – I’m a firm believer that good PR is all about the right chemistry, chemistry between you and the PR agency and then of course the press.  Without the right chemistry you can’t brainstorm ideas, and without good creative ideas you’ll never succeed in PR!

Here are the golden rules on the top things you SHOULD NOT DO in order to succeed in PR:-

1. Long sign offs kill stories!  Don’t expect to get coverage if your agency has prepared a story for you based on a story that’s just broken and you don’t get sign off for days! You need immediate responses from the key decision makers and if you don’t someone else will pitch you to the post.

2. Never oversell to journalist or analysts – they hate it!  I believe you literally have about 30 seconds to sell in a story – if you haven’t succeeded in this time – then drop off the line and move on.

3. Boring & Samey –don’t expect to get coverage if you don’t have much of story – it’s got to have a hook with a great email header and headline to the story or release.

4. Don’t write releases no-one will understand – for heaven’s sake write in plain English, make it short, sharp and to the point. Use quotes, photos and hyperlinks wherever you can.  Don’t use jargon and make them so complicated and technical that no-one gets it.

5. Do not pitch to someone who isn’t interested in the story – this reinforces Golden Rule No. 4. on how to win in PR because I still think this is key to winning in PR. You won’t succeed if you don’t have the contacts or an insight into who will be interested in hearing about our story.

6. Do not let your client bully you. They may think every national journalist from The Sun to The Financial Times wants to write about their sponsorship of Grabmore’s Mobile Solutions for Earth Moving Trucks 2012 event but…. believe me they don’t. And they don’t want to read, no matter write, about your client’s two latest recruits to your Baltic HQ and their membership of the local Chamber of Commerce. Be sensible and let your client know spamming journalists with this type of stuff will ensure they drop off everyone’s mailing list.

And finally and most importantly if you want to win in PR be smart about how you approach everything you do.  Don’t go in the same direction as all of your competitors, think out of the box and work out how you are going to stand out from the rest of the crowd.