What makes great Public Relations?  Ask this question at lunch at Tanis Communications, and you’re sure to create a lively debate.  How do the talking points, pitches, influencer contacts, research, social media tools, editorial calendars, speaking opportunities, etc. all fit together to generate coverage for the client?

While other forms of marketing communications such as advertising and email marketing allow you to target a particular demographic, completely specify the content, determine the optimal location and execute at your specified timetable, public relations requires that you convince others that your content is both newsworthy and timely.

What does it take to get editors, reporters, bloggers and other content publishers to decide your story is worth their time? What gives them confidence that you can help them be relevant to their readers and contribute to their personal success and that of their media property?

Here are a few basics to keep in mind:

  • Know the publication and Its readership – One of the biggest complaints about public relations professionals from editors and reporters is that they don’t read the publication. First and foremost, you need to know whether or not your story is appropriate for the outlets you’re targeting. This requires that you do the homework to understand what matters to them and what their readers care about. Just pitching and hoping is not a recipe for success.
  • Become familiar with what interests a particular writer – It’s not enough to familiarize yourself with the kinds of articles and opinion pieces a certain publication or online site features. You need to drill down into the psyche and mindset of individual writers. What are their hot buttons? Do they always quote customers in their coverage? Are they fans of statistical research? Your agency PR partner should already have strong relationships with a core set of media, but should also be smart about introducing your content to new contacts who would find your story appealing.
  • Develop compelling storylines – It is very easy when working inside a company to think your news is the most compelling on the block.  At times, it truly is, but those are stories that do fit the cliché of almost selling themselves.  More often, the upgrades, new features and expansion into new markets are not the stuff of legend. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a compelling angle – it just means your PR team needs to work harder to find it.
  • Deliver a complete package – This last step is where you can make your reputation as a reporter-friendly PR pro. Make it easy for the press to consume. Provide third-party research facts, data points, quotes and access to industry experts who can expand on your news. Consider multimedia elements – InfoGraphics, videos and photos – that keep readers more engaged with the story.  These supporting materials make your story come alive – all the better to reach your target audience.

At Tanis, we work with our clients to bring storytelling to the forefront.

This week, we added Judy Radlinsky to our team as vice president for Public Relations. She’s been in the PR trenches for 25 years, helping global brands such as HP, IBM, Philips and Xilinx showcase their innovation and business stories. We are excited to have Judy join Tanis and look forward to creating many wonderful new stories with our clients.