Tips for getting media coverage

February 17, 2008 at 1:35 pm (Media) (, , , )

Reading newspaperGetting Ink has done it again – another great post with more great tips. As students training for the professional PR world, my peers and I can use a little help with getting coverage for a client. Getting Ink’s post features tips from the perspective of a journalist on doing so. I think learning from a journalist is extremely valuable for PR students because it gives us the opportunity to strategically get media to cover our stories.

A couple weeks ago, I had my AHPR team update the media list. I cannot emphasize how important it is to do this. After compiling the list, each team member called the media outlets to obtain updated lead times, reporter/editor preferences for sent materials and publication general preferences. We found that some smaller town publications only covered local news. By local, it meant that only anything within the town’s limits, nothing in the bigger city right next to it.

See, when we were creating the list, we thought it would be great to include the little suburb cities on the outskirts of a large one. For some publications, it was fine because they still found it relevant (see tip 9 of Getting Ink); however, for others, it did not want anything outside of its own city. So, what did we do? We listened and understood. We pulled those publications out of the media list so we don’t waste our time or the publications’ times.

So, here is my 11th tip to add to the 10 on the Getting Ink post:

Research and communicate with the media before sending press kits and other collateral materials. Going through and updating the media list is a great way to organize yourself and your team and increase the success rate of your media coverage.

*Image courtesy of Flickr: dsevilla. It was taken under the Creative Commons license.

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Editing: a key part of the writing process

February 8, 2008 at 4:01 pm (PR Writing, Uncategorized) (, , , )

EditingGetting Ink gives some good constructive criticism to a few press releases it has seen this week. Some mistakes include grammar, capitalization and style. Of the three analyzed, my favorite is:

8 Tips to Help Your Child with SATs tests This May

If I was a parent and saw this headline, I would not read it. Why should I trust your tips, if you can’t even write correctly?  

As a PR student, the consequences for grammar and writing mistakes are pretty rigorous. I took a class called Writing for the Media that rewarded a big fat ‘F’ if there was one mistake – harsh, but a great incentive for proofreading. Luckily, students in that class had the chance to rewrite each ‘F,’ but this is not how the real world works.

There are very few, if any, second chances once you send out a release to a publication. Training early to watch for errors is good.  As the editorial services director for Allen Hall Public Relations, here are a couple of common errors I’ve seen that can be easily avoided:

  • Misspelled names and titles – It is extremely important to spell names correctly because no one wants to see his or her name spelled wrong. The person always notices. 
  • Incorrect title punctuation and style – This is the first thing the reader sees. It should be error free and appealing. 
  • Inaccurate information – What is the reporter going to do when it finds your information is inaccurate? First, the person will either conduct more research than necessary or not write the story. Second, the person will toss your next press release.
Proofing your own work is actually quite hard. Sometimes you just don’t see things. I’m still learning. A good tip from one of my professors is to read everything out loud. It also may be a good idea to have a buddy or someone else at work proof it for you before you send it to your boss/editors and the media. 
 
* Image courtesy of FlickrMr. WrightIt was taken under the Creative Commons  license. 

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Looking the part

February 3, 2008 at 1:41 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Professional dress code

Everyone says that a first impression goes a long way. It’s true, and part of it is looking the part. Penelope Trunk gives some great tips in her Brazen Careerist blog. Whether it is an interview or your first few months at a new job, what you wear is a huge part of how people view you.

 Although I’ve only had a few internships, couple jobs and probably double the interviews, here are a few tips of things I’ve found to go by:     

Interview:

  • Always dress formally, conservatively and professionally. You don’t usually know the dress code of the company. If you are dressed accordingly, chances are the interviewers know you are serious about getting a job there.
  • Make sure everything is ironed. A wrinkled shirt can show the interviewer that you are not detail-oriented. I’ve found that “detail-oriented” is a great characteristic to have, and if you say you are, then you must show that you are.
  • Trunk advises to find a good tailor. This is another example of showing how detail-oriented you are. Plus, it decreases the number of distractions the interviewers may notice. You don’t want them to watch your slacks drag on the floor.

 First few months at a new job:

  • Get to know the dress code, and follow it. A good way to show the company that you know what you are doing there is following all of its guidelines. It leaves one less thing for your managers to worry about for a new employee.
  • Limit the amount of flashy jewelry. Some of these things can sparkle under light and become a distraction. Remember – you want them to look at your capabilities, not your accessories. Trunk gave some good tips for girls that work for both looking older and decreasing distractions.

Whether or not you feel qualified for a position, looking the part is important to gaining the respect of your colleagues and interviewers.    

** Photo collage courtesy of Flickr user: waldrup_2000 

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