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9 ways to bolster public relations and media outreach

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | May 19, 2015
What good is having a business if no one knows about you? But how do you get the word out? Public relations is one of several proven ways for organizations to connect with their target audience, and is often (much) more cost effective than advertising. But how can you ensure that your press releases and PR efforts are getting to the right people?

What good is having a business if no one knows about you? But how do you get the word out? Public relations is one of several proven ways for organizations to connect with their target audience, and is often (much) more cost effective than advertising. But how can you ensure that your press releases and PR efforts are getting to the right people?

Following are nine can't miss online tools, plus tips, that will help companies, regardless of their size or industry, improve their public and media outreach.

1. Create and share truly newsworthy content. "Your PR efforts are meaningless without a compelling and relevant piece of content," says Vaibhav Diwanji, digital marketing strategist, e-Intelligence, an SEO and Web design company. "Good content has the ability to get you great media coverage and garner substantial customer attention — and will get people talking about your brand."

Just make sure your content is truly newsworthy, and that the information you are sharing is of interest or beneficial to journalists and your target audience. Maybe you are releasing a new product or service or making a major change to an existing product or service. Maybe you are merging with or being acquired by another company. Or you are announcing a big event or sale.

And don't just use traditional press releases to share your news. "Use videos and blog posts to effectively get your brand out there, too," says Diwanji.

2. Use services such as HARO, ProfNet & SourceBottle to connect with reporters and get mentions in publications. "Utilizing HARO [or a similar service] is a must," says Gail Axelrod, PR & Community Manager, OpenView Venture Partners. "Staying up to date with HARO [which publishes three editions of reporters' queries Monday through Friday] can help you generate a steady drumbeat of mentions," she explains. "Even if you're not actively responding or your responses aren't being utilized, you quickly get to know reporters, the beats they cover and the types of stories certain outlets tend to focus on."

"HARO provides a perfect platform for me to introduce my clients to relevant reporters that are writing stories on topics that my clients can speak to," says Suzy Casey, account manager, Geben Communication.

Just make sure to "give journalists exactly what they're asking for," says Molly Reynolds, president of Public Relations at Trepoint, a digital marketing company. "Depending on the [HARO or ProfNet] query, journalists can get hundreds of responses."

To beat the competition, carefully read the reporter's query and make sure your reply properly answers it — and that you have provided all of the requested information. (Very often people only answer, or address, part of a reporter's query, or forget to include contact information or social media handles, which drives reporters nuts.)

 

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