Don't be a PR Robot

This week I was doing a big press release push for one of my clients. As I sat down to send out the release, I pondered the ways in which I could go the extra mile. Then, I got this slideshare from HubSpot. It was like a little marketing sherpa appeared in my inbox and provided some perspective in the form of HubSpot's latest blog post.

It dawned on me that the entire industry of public relations is changing just like the entire industy of marketing is changing. It's becoming essential to have that human element. No one wants to have messages shoved in their face nor do they want to be harassed. We all have a thousand things to do and annoyances, such as incessant phone calls and emails about uninteresting things, just get in the way.

I got a laugh from these quotes from journalists...

As someone who has worked in the journalism industry I totally connected with these journalists' sentiments. At the same time, as someone who now works in the marketing/PR industry, I also realized I have probably been guilty of more or less causing these sentiments.

So I sat down to take a long look at my PR plan and asked myself, "How do I avoid being a PR robot?"

I really like the suggestions HubSpot gives at the end of their slideshare.  I also came up with some additional guidelines that more or less embrace basic common sense.

I made a list of guidelines for myself of what NOT to do when it comes to writing and sending out a press release:

  1. Know your brand- Know what is unique about your brand and the "cool" aspects of it. Before you write a press release or a tip, know what the hook is and work from there.
  2. Know the connection- Along with knowing your brand, know what the connection is between your brand and the journalist you are reaching out to.  Make sure that connection is clearly established in your pitch without being overly "sale-sy."
  3. Don't be annoying- If you had brothers and sisters growing up you probably know when you're being annoying.  When I was younger I knew because usually I instantly started  getting ignored. If you didn't have brothers and sister growing up and this concept is new to you, well, often when someone ignores you they are annoyed with you. The solution? Just let it go and move on.
  4. Build relationships before you need something- This is one I need to work on more for my clients. Instead of sending a contact a press release and then giving them a shout out on Twitter or Facebook, it would be wise to continuously communicate with this person on social channels just for the sake of communicating and being social, not for the sake of getting something you want. That way, when you do go to send them a press release, you'll already have an established connection.

An overarching theme for all these suggestions is to, like my Momma always said, put yourself in their shoes.

If YOU were that journalist what would you find annoying?  What would you find appealing? What would you like to read about? Be HONEST with your answers.

If YOU were a reader of that journalist's publication, what would you like to read about?

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