Marketing February 4, 2015 Last updated September 19th, 2018 1,703 Reads share

10 Things You’ve Been Dying To Know About Public Relations

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I know, I know. You’re chomping at the bit to get your questions about public relations answered. Not to worry. I’m here with answers to your most pressing questions.

#1. What’s the Best Time to Send a Press Release?

Think logically about this: when are you most open to getting emails at work? I’m willing to guess it’s not Monday or Friday (or the weekends, for that matter). On Mondays you (and journalists) are inundated with emails, and it’s easy to delete any from names you don’t recognize. On Fridays, you’re ready to shut down early, and so are your media contacts. So the best days to send releases are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Now timewise, that’s a little tricky, as you’ve got time zones to contend with. A good rule of thumb is to send your press release late morning or early afternoon. That means you’ll circumvent being one of the emails trashed first thing in the morning, and you’ll hit the journalist before they leave for the day.

#2. Should I Attach My Press Release When I Email a Pitch?

No. Not at all. Think about it: do you like getting emails from people you don’t know with attachments? Do you open them? I hope not. If so, you should go get a scan of your computer to make sure you don’t have a virus!

You’re better off including a link to your online press release and summarizing your news in the release with a few bullet points. Some journalists won’t even read your release. They just want the pertinent details so they can write about your brand, and they’ll ask for more details if they need them.

#3. How Can I Write a Headline People Will Click?

Your press release title is probably the most important component of your release. It’s what helps people decide whether or not they want to click on it to read your release. But too many people write really stuffy ones, like Balboa Capital to Showcase Construction Equipment Dealer Financing Capabilities at World of Concrete 2015Does that headline make you want to click? Probably not. It’s dry as dirt, and there’s no real benefit to clicking on it unless you will be at World of Concrete this year!

While it’s not geared specifically toward press release headlines, Tweak Your Biz’ Title Generator can get your creative juices flowing. You can also read other press release headlines and pay attention to what appeals to you and what turns you off, then emulate what you like.

#4. Do I Need a Media Page?

If you’re writing regular press releases, it’s a good idea to have a media page for your business site. Not only can you show off your recent press releases, but you can also create a landing pad for journalists who want to quickly access basic information about your company, snag your logo, or get a few details. If you get media coverage, you can link to it here as well.

#5. What’s the Best Way to Get a Journalist to Write About My Brand?

That’s the million dollar question! It really depends on what your news is, and how exciting it is to a journalist and her readers. She’ll want to see value in covering your news, so give it to her. Rather than focus on the dry details of your news, find the story behind it. The news might not be that you’re launching (yet another) mobile application, but that your 10-year-old son came up with the idea and helped program it. Now that’s an interesting story!

#6. How Can I Connect with a Journalist So They’ll Read My Pitch?

The relationship you build with a journalist should start long before you want to pitch them. To that end, follow journalists that write about your industry on social media and share and comment on their updates. Read their content and comment when appropriate. If you get on a journalist’s radar, she’ll be more amenable to opening your email when you’re ready to pitch.

#7. How Can I Use SEO in My Press Release?

Even though Matt Cutts of Google said that press releases weren’t good SEO tools a few years ago, I disagree. No, they shouldn’t be used to get links on dozens of sites, but they should be used with the right keywords to ensure that people searching those keywords find your release, and thereby, your company. Pick one or two keyword phrases that best relate to your news (and to your company) and use them in the headline and a few times in the body of the press release.

#8. What Kinds of Stories Do Journalists Want?

I can give some guidance in general, but for specifics, I’d say read what they’ve written in the past. You’ll quickly see patterns in what they’re interested in covering. In general, it’s got to stand out. The opening of a store or business isn’t exciting, unless there’s a story behind it, like I said earlier, or maybe a big grand opening event. Your app isn’t thrilling unless it does something completely different from the competition. You’ve got to find the angle that makes your news unique.

#9. Do I Need to Hire a PR Firm?

Not at all, if you’re willing to put in the time to build relationships with the media and write those releases. It will take time and dedication, so if you’ve got it, there’s no reason why you can’t DIY your own public relations. On the other hand, if you’re too busy and have the money to shell out, hiring a pro might be a better fit.

#10. What Can PR Do for Me Other Than Help Me Publish Press Releases?

Great PR can get you interviewed on local and national news programs. It can help you get invited to speak at a conference or event. It can even help you get more customers! People like seeing brands with media recognition, so how you leverage it from there is up to you.

I’m sure you’ve got other questions about public relations. Leave them in the comments and I’ll happily respond.

Images: ”Word PR on newspaper. Wooden lettersShutterstock.com

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Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory

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