Public Relations 101: The Basics

Emily Potts works at her laptop in the 8THIRTYFOUR office

We sometimes find that the perception of public relations is skewed by those who don’t work in the field, and a lot of people still don’t understand its value.
The simple fact is, if you want people to start talking about you or your brand, you need to have a skilled public relations team in place that can accurately tell your story. Creating relationships with the media, crafting brand messaging, and coordinating press interviews takes a lot of time and effort, and is not something that should be overlooked.
While there is no simple and easy way to tackle a public relations campaign, we have broken down a few of the basics:

Determine Goals

When first speaking with a client, we take the time to understand what they are looking for in terms of earned media. Are they simply hoping for more brand recognition? Are they trying to reach an entirely new audience? Do they need to alter their brand image with key stakeholders?
Solidifying goals and expectations will help you craft a public relations campaign, and will ultimately determine the types of publications or outlets to target with pitching.

Be Relevant

Pitching is a small part of public relations. The major time investment comes from the hours of research necessary in order to find the right news outlets and press targets. It is important that your story be relevant to the people you are pitching, so take the time to understand a press member’s “beat,” or in other words, the topics that they cover. If a reporter strictly covers politics, your pitch on the opening of a hot, new restaurant will no doubt go straight into their trash folder.
If you’re in need of tips on how to craft the perfect pitch, luckily for you we wrote about it not once, but twice.

Provide Value

Once you find the perfect press target, make sure that your pitch provides them with something that will be valuable to their readers, followers, viewers or listeners. While your client may think it is big news that they expanded into a larger office, hired a new employee, or celebrated a milestone anniversary, remember that most news stories need to appeal to the masses.
The media is not there to simply tell your story for free; they want to provide valuable and interesting information to their audiences. Still want to share that your client expanded into a larger office? Try digging into the investment that was made in the local community or the number of new jobs that will stem from the expansion.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Once you land an interview or segment for your client, make sure that everyone is prepared and on the same page. Clients should know who they will be speaking with, where, and when. Being in the media spotlight can be stressful, so it is important that your client has all necessary details in order to be successful. As a publicist, you should also always be prepared to answer press questions on behalf of your client.
Earned media is not easy to secure, so once a piece or a segment runs, be sure to give yourself a quick pat on the back before heading back to work.
If any of this sounds overwhelming, give us a call and we would be happy to tackle your public relations needs head-on.

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