In the past, when most people thought about the public relations profession, they thought of two things: spin and propaganda. Today, some people still hold the outdated view that PR professionals are just paid Ôtalking headsÕ with questionable morality. Being a PR professional myself, I object to this incorrect portrayal of a career IÕm passionate about. That being said, I do understand where this misconception came from.
Edward Bernays, the man who was often referred to as the ÒFather of Public RelationsÓ, used very different tools than the ones in my modern PR toolbox. In the early years of PR, propaganda,Êwhich Bernays defined as Òthe conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses,Ó was a commonly used PR tool, so much so that publicists were often viewed as deceptive manipulators.
Professionals in the industry have worked hard to change this perception by updating the guidelines and best practices in the field. In contrast to the public opinion of the past, those who work in PR today are embraced by journalists as credible and valuable sources of information. The industry continues to move forward and adapt to changing times in media and technology, strategies and tactics, with the goal of being more effective at telling the world about our clients and their products and/or services.
So, in the spirit of innovation and improvement, here are three outdated PR practices and the best modern-day replacement solutions, the implementation of which will make your outreach more effective at inspiring action, in reference to bookings, purchasing,Êdemo requests, and the like:
Outdated practice: The press release
At one time, the press release was the most common format used to share a companyÕs news with journalists. Today, increased competition for the attention of the media has made the press release a much less effective tool to secure coverage. So what is the best way to let media know about your companyÕs news, and make sure that you stand out from the crowds of other companies reaching out to the same media on a daily basis?
Focus on developing the facts of your news into a story. For example, if your propertyÕs goal is to gain bookings by promoting your new on-site restaurant, pitching a story about food trends in your destination would have more value and generate greater interest with media, and readers, than just telling media that you opened a new restaurant. This tactic, which we call an expert pitch and which is best delivered in an email, is much more engaging than sending a dry press release to a journalist. Because an email pitch is much less formal, the most important elements to include are:
An innovative, newsworthy, timely story angle.
Solid sources to provide expert commentary.
Correct and attributed facts and information to support your angle.
Journalists will be happy to receive pitches that have all of the above and that are well-written and fact checked because they love when PR people make their job easier.
Outdated practice: ÒSprayÊand prayÓ pitching
Many companies used to believe that PR was a numbers game; they figured that the more lines you throw out, the more fish you will catch. Same thing with PR: the belief was that sending out your press release to more people would equate to more coverage. Today though, the opposite is true. This is because journalists know how to spot a pitch that was sent out to a list versus a story that was developed to suit the topics that they cover for their publication. Two key pitch features that will tip a journalist off to the fact that they are receiving a Òspray and prayÓ pitch are a lack of personalization in the email and by the presence of over-generalized statements; I.e. not making it specific to a particular media audience.ÊÊ
To show journalists youÕve created a media list that focuses on quality over quantity, pitch only the contacts at publications which cover the specific topic that youÕre pitching, and make sure that you update your media list on each new pitch to make sure that your list will be interested. By doing your research and only sending each pitch to one journalist at each publication, never send a single pitch to more than one at each, they will know you are a pro and will be more likely to cover your news.
Outdated practice: Print is king
In the past, print media outlets, such asÊnewspapers and magazines, were considered to have the highest value; however, many daily newspapers including traditional print media outlets are struggling to stay in business. According to Pew Research Center, Ò62Êper centÊof American adults get their news from social media outlets,” demonstrating that, today, people can and do get their news anywhere Ð including from online sources and blogs.
Do not ignore online media outlets because of the outdated impression that print news is the most prestigious or valuable, or else your company may be left behind. Your media list should include all types of media outlets, including print, broadcast, online and blogs, to ensure the greatest visibility for your news and company.
Knowing how to make your story stand out from the hundreds of emails in a journalistÕs inbox is key to your PR campaignÕs success. By updating your media practices using the above tips, you will experience greater ROI from your media outreach and, as a result, achieve more of your businessÕ overall goals.
About JLNPR Inc.
JLNPR Inc. is a full-service public relations and marketing agency that lives and breathes all facets of the travel technology industry. From online travel agencies to revenue management systems, tablet-based aviation automation solutions to IFE technology, hotels to airlines and everything in between, JLNPR uses our knowledge and experience to get your B2B travel technology company noticed by media, influencers and potential customers Ð and whenever possible, without the overused, often abused press release. In addition to traditional media relations outreach, we also ghost-write exciting, informational copy that will be published (in our clientÕs name) by top hotel industry media outlets Ð in order to increase your companyÕs visibility with potential customers, boost brand awareness and increase sales. To learn how to do your own PR for your company, download JLNPRÕs free guide: How to Use Public Relations to Boost Your Sales – Without Blowing Your Budget. To find out more about JLNPR (including our services and out-of-the-box philosophy on press releases), please visit www.jlnpr.com.