posted by | on public releations

AJGpr, a Los Angeles PR firm, found this “Public Relations Best Practices Top Sheet” at Group Y Network. Here it is:

Starting a PR program from the ground up may seem daunting. But, with some common sense, homework and the right tools, it’s a lot easier than you think. The advice here is gleaned from some of our favorite skate-savvy editors and should help you get a step ahead, whether you are starting from the ground up or just need some refresher ideas.

1. Know what “news” is. News is not a new shoelace color, a seasonal product launch (i.e. Holiday styles and colorways) or a team photo shoot. News is an innovative technology, signing of a key athlete or announcing a unique branded event your company is hosting. Take yourself out of your brand’s shoes (ha) and honestly ask yourself: “Would anyone else find this interesting/important/unique?” If the answer is Yes, it’s news.

2. Let the media know about your news in a timely and concise fashion. The old “Who, What, When, Where and Why” is pretty much the best guide. Also be sure to plan out your timing; telling someone about an event that is happening tomorrow won’t get you far… Most consumer mags work 3-4 months ahead of time and trades, 1-2. Online has a much quicker turnaround, obviously, but a solid “heads up” will be appreciated by any editor. Some good lead-time with a reminder email sent 48 hours before the event is often the best equation.

3. The editors’ job is to report on what readers want to read, so let them do what they do best. Think of your pitch like a job interview: present your strengths, your best story, then let it go. Follow up is fine, but don’t be the needler—“Why didn’t you run a story about my shoe/deck/photo shoot?” That will quickly get you pushed far down the priority list. Honestly.

4. For product stuff it’s sometimes best to send the gear out first and ask questions later. Address it to an editor and include a quick but polite hand-written note asking for placement. Let them know if it theirs to keep or a sample that needs to be returned. There is no guarantee that this approach will work but a box full of fresh gear is always more appealing than a fuzzy jpeg in the morning email line-up.

5. Build relationships. Just because an editor doesn’t run your story once, doesn’t mean it won’t happen next time. Being the resource who is quick to respond, easy to deal with, and delivers on time will over time pay off the big dividends. Look at it long term—be the guy/girl who the editor wants to reach out to because he knows it will be an easy transaction, not the guy that complains or won’t deliver on his promises. Editors deal with so many flakes over the course of a day that just being courteous and doing what you said you’d do will put you into the top percentile.

6. Plan, plan, plan. The best PR programs plan out many months or even a year ahead of time. Look at what products or events you have coming down the pipe over the next year (or even two!) and build a PR plan around those items. Having your materials and timelines together allows you to have perfect timing—i.e. corresponding your product shipping to stores or athlete competing in the Dew Tour with secured editorial in magazines and online.

7. Editors are always busy and sometimes lazy*. Ask yourself before initiating contact: Am I making this person’s job easier or harder? PR hacks who make editors’ jobs easier are often the ones that get results.

8. Email is the best way to communicate. Feel free to send a friendly follow up if you don’t get a response.

9. If you are pitching a mainstream publication, there are some story lines that are always popular: the young person who follows his passion and starts a successful company; the local company that most people haven’t heard of but that is doing well in a niche industry; stories that take readers into a hard-to-understand yet interesting industry in their back yard.

10. Even big newspapers these days are desperate to build page views online. Many are posting shorter stories on blogs, and the threshold for getting published is much lower. Check out every publications online presence and send emails directly to writers, many of whom are eager to make story quotas.


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