Sunday, August 18, 2013

The importance of public relations

This summer, I had the pleasure of interning at a public relations agency in New York City. I am enthralled to say that I absolutely enjoyed every second of it and gained valuable experience and insight into the field. There are many different things I learned about the fundamentals of PR that I would love to share with you, but right now I want to focus on the importance of public relations. 

At any given agency, responsibilities consist of sending product samples to bloggers, pitching stories to editors, and monitoring media clippings. Additionally, PR professionals constantly give out advice to various clients as to why certain campaigns will be successful or why certain ones will fail. Clients are coached on how to handle interview questions and what to wear to certain television appearances. 

At this given moment, I can confidently say that I have finally realized the importance of public relations and I am not the only one! According to Kenny Goodman, "public relations can be used to ensure business owners broadcast the right message to their audience". This comment stems from a "Find the Edge" article which investigates the importance of public relations. According to the article, business leaders should see a successful PR campaign as an essential aspect to their business plan. 

So what exactly makes PR so essential to businesses? According to Goodman, it's all about reputation. In my PR Case Studies class this year, we learned a lot about crisis communications. This is something that is at the forefront of PR and something that can literally make or break a company or establishment. 

Whether internal or through an agency, keeping track of your public relations ensures that you hear your customers' messages and adapt accordingly. In the article, Goodman discusses what he considers to be the most important and profitable aspects of public relations- "having a strong and clearly defined strategy with established outcomes, making contacts with the media, and being able to generate creative news angles".

All of this makes sense to me and I feel that these findings are definitely worth checking out. I really feel that, although public relations is still relatively unknown to those outside the field, it is starting to make its name because it truly does make a huge difference. I am extremely excited to see the future of public relations and to one day call it my career.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Drafting the most ideal press release & e-mail pitch

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This summer at my internship, I have been assigned to draft my fair share of press releases and e-mail pitches. The first time my supervisor told me to write one, I was completely terrified. However, she took the time to explain to me exactly what she was looking for and what outlets they would be sent to. Although my initial draft received its fair share of criticism, I am pleased to say that the pitches were sent out and we were both extremely confident in them.

Interning at a PR agency this summer has lead me to understand the importance of both press releases and e-mail pitches.  I will undoubtedly be drafting many of them in the future and need to be on the look out for the best advice on how to execute them. 

This past weekend, I found an article on PR News Online specifically giving ways to draft pitches without annoying or turning off reporters. Here are a few ideas from the article, as well as a few that my supervisors have shared with me this summer:

  • Do not include business cliches or overused phrases. Reporters can literally see right through this type of language and it appears that you do not value their time because of the fluffiness, rather than substance, present in the pitch.
  • Catch their attention right away. With outlets like Twitter and Facebook, reporters' attention spans are shorter than ever. You should send them something both newsworthy and interesting so that they want to read it.
  • Use visuals. This goes along with the previous tip. Instead of explaining a backpack in a long paragraph, why not send a detailed picture of the backpack instead? Visuals are both descriptive and captivating, encouraging your reporters to actually pay attention to the content. 
  • Write an intelligent phrase in the subject line that shows not only what your e-mail is about, but also how it will be of use to the reporters' readers. It is not enough to simply explain something, you need to indicate what others will get out of it.
  • Keep it short and to the point. This goes without saying. However, sometimes PR pros get so caught up in how awesome their clients are that they forget that reporters receive hundreds of e-mail every day.
To read the full PR News Online article, click here.

Wishing everyone the best of luck as their internships wind down. Remember, there is still enough time to utilize this advice and write the best press release/e-mail pitch of the summer!