Six things I’ve learnt in six months – By Megan Holden, PR/Marketing Coordinator, InsideOut PR
We’re halfway through winter, halfway through the year and halfway through our New Year resolutions.
We all remember a first; whether it was your first day of school, first time breaking a bone, first kiss or that terrifying first day of a new job – mine being a Sydney PR agency – big step for this country girl.
It’s crazy to think I’ve been at InsideOut PR for six months now! Since starting in early January, I have become addicted to coffee and immune to the two hour train ride between Wollongong and Sydney, I’m constantly expecting the unexpected and I see everything as a brand or a PR stunt. Best of all, I’m emotionally ok with being rejected.
I’ve also learnt six valuable media relations lessons:
- The importance of a follow-up call
I get it, follow-up calls can be daunting but think of what you could gain from the call. It could be coverage, a new client, a celebrity ambassador, the perfect venue for an event or even better – fast internet.
Not only can a follow-up call generate publicity for clients, but trust and long-term relationships with journalists are also built.
Follow-up calls can resolve any issues quickly and promptly. If a journalist isn’t satisfied with content you provided or a brand isn’t sold on a proposal you’ve spent hours creating, picking up the phone and chatting about the problem will almost always result in a resolution.
Additionally, a phone call could also result in you offering more than what you initially pitched or receiving something better in return. Engaging in each other’s wants and needs means a win-win outcome.
- The heading
If you want your story to be read, then be creative and quirky with the headline.
The recent Splendour in the Grass chlamydia outbreak captured the attention of millions. The headline sparked interest to readers with the intention to raise awareness of STI’s as well as promoting the STI testing tent, which was located near the campsites at this year’s Splendour in the Grass event.
The headline needs to be news worthy and of interest to your audience. Think about who will read the story and what will draw them in.
- Life’s a pitch!
Crafting a perfect pitch takes practice. I can’t say I’m an expert at this (yet) but I sit right next to a bunch of talented people who know the tricks.
Do your homework and know who you’re pitching too. Don’t be afraid to make it personal. Make it memorable so that it stands out from the flood of emails in a journalist’s inbox. Provide them with as much information as you can so that they get sucked in and ask for ‘more info.’ Maybe even offer an exclusive and make it compelling.
These simple steps will give you the upper hand!
- Value of PR over advertising
The biggest difference between the two terms is PR is earned media whilst advertising is paid.
Advertising might build exposure but PR builds trust and credibility through language, relationship building and persuasion.
Hiring a PR team is not going to put you in debt! PR agencies are less expensive than advertising and deliver exposure across multiple channels.
Check out Vanessa’s blog on the True Value of PR.
- Research and know your facts
Research everything! From finding the right contacts and working on campaigns, to chatting with a client or media contact, it is important to be ‘the expert’ at that present time. In just six months I’ve noticed that people rely on a PR team to have the answer.
Spending five minutes gathering as much information as you can or talking to your colleagues about what you should say, will only help you gain a competitive advantage.
Take follow-up calls as an example, a journalist might catch you ‘off-guard’ with a question you don’t know the answer to. Freezing up on the phone isn’t an option as you sometimes get one shot with media, so be prepared.
- Every day is a new day so plan ahead
I always like to plan my days but in PR, every day is completely different. You never know when breaking news will strike or when an TV opportunity comes through and your client needs to be in studio ASAP. My one big advice is on your ‘quieter’ days, don’t slack off but be as productive as you can be.
Use your calendars, write a to-do list, use sticky notes (personal favourite) and don’t be afraid to ask for help.