SMACK! Media is grounded in personalized attention through clear communication, strong relationships and a passion for execution. Whether you are a PR professional, student or simply looking for tips to improve your communication skills, we are pleased to share our most valued core beliefs and practices about PR inspired by our own experiences and Forbes: How To Get Press interview series with our Founder Eli Carlson. Short and sweet, here are 17 good ones:
1. Have a plan. Every successful PR campaign (and day) starts with a road map of your objectives, timelines and desired results. Write that plan down.
2. Respect others’ deadlines, including those of peers, clients and journalists. Being punctual can be the difference between landing amazing press versus none at all.
3. Personalize your pitches. Do your research about who you are contacting and what they cover. (More about how to personalize your pitches in “Forbes: How to Get Press, Part 2 – Nailing the Pitch” interview with Eli Carlson.)
4. Be targeted and concise. It’s important to capture the attention of the journalist in the first 2 lines by making the pitch current to something timely or trending, without overstretching it. For example, don’t start a pitch telling the editor that your story is unique. If your story truly is “unique,” the editor will know. (Forbes, “How To Get Press” Part 1 and Part 2, Interview with Eli Carlson)
5. Diplomacy, honesty and directness are important in PR. So is being “real” and having sense of humor.
6. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Go for it. Swing Big. Being fearless may result in failure but more often, it results in big success. (Check out what global PR guru, founder of Help A Reporter Out (HARO) and entrepreneur, Peter Shankman did for his PR client in this piece – spoiler: scroll to the skydiving photo!)
7. Pick up the phone! Several emails to the same person can easily be hashed out in a 5 minute phone call that usually results in more efficiency for all parties involved. The more complicated the discussion or task, makes it that much more effective to talk through over the phone.
8. Treat people with integrity and go the extra mile to do something nice for the media you work with, such as thoughtful handwritten notes, leads to a story that might interest them, regardless of it benefiting you, or inviting them to coffee or lunch.
9. Get out. Real PR does not only happen behind a computer screen. Make an effort to truly communicate with the media and clients you work with via phone calls, skype, in-person meetings and even sweating together through a workout.
10. Don’t put anything in writing that you would not wish to share with the world–this especially applies to texting and social media. Keep the gossip to yourself (it isn’t nice, or productive, anyways).
11. Be meticulous about writing, spelling, grammar, coherence and facts like names, titles and details. Always double check these.
12. Know what the editor typically covers and likes to write about. And more important, know what the editors have covered in the past so you don’t pitch them on a story they’ve already written. (We loved worked with Fitness Director at Women’s Health, Jen Ator, on her story about her Ironman experience.)
13. Give credit to those who deserve it. Honesty and correctness aside, this will increase your own credibility and expand your connections.
14. Be creative. Just because something does not exist or has not been attempted does not make it obsolete. Be bold and put your ideas into action. Stand out from the crowd and help your clients do the same.
15. Keep things in perspective. Is their blood? While we all seek to avoid problems, they are inevitable. Staying calm and being creative in your solution is where the magic happens.
16. Find your area of expertise and help that journalist land that story or that interview. Become a “go-to” person and establish yourself as that resource. (Forbes, “How To Get Press Part 1,” Interview with Eli Carlson)
17. Don’t just send a press release. The world of PR has changed over the last few years and according to many journalists, the “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” headline is dead. Save press releases for breaking news. (Forbes, “How To Get Press, Part 2)
If you have a go to PR tip, let us know. We don’t have all of the answers and are always learning.