Still sending out news releases and press kits to hundreds of media outlets? There's a better way to get press today, says Richard Laermer, author of Full Frontal PR and president of RLM Public Relations, a New York City PR firm. Instead, try these tricks of the modern-day trade.
Make yourself news. Andrew Fay's $9.6 million company, Gettys, an interior design and architectural services firm in Chicago that he co-founded with three partners, teamed with Hospitality Design magazine to create Hotel of Tomorrow, an online think tank that explores issues and challenges facing the hospitality design industry Gettys serves.
"It positions us as a thought leader," says Fay, 45. "We have a forum with owners and operators and media all coming together. Because we're the elder statesman of the group, it has directly resulted in publicity." Fay estimates that the project is seen by more than 120 million readers and viewers.
Ditch the (traditional) media list. Well, not entirely, but stop relying so heavily on it, says Laermer. Most journalists are combing blogs, podcasts and websites for info, so spend time getting information about your company into the blogo-sphere and other online media, he advises. The best way to do that is to be well-informed. "You have to be aware of the trends hitting your industry and be able to show how you fit into the bigger picture," he says.
Create an online press center. Your website should have a comprehensive pressroom, which includes information about your company as well as relevant industry statistics, trend information, photographs and other tools that journalists need to put together stories, says Laermer. Based on the success of the HOT project, Fay is overseeing the redesign of the company's website, which will include an RSS feed to keep media informed when the company has news to announce.
Think big. Target narrow. Wilma Mathews, co-author of On Deadline: Managing Media Relations, advises businesses to sniff out media that hit their target instead of trying to be everything to every media outlet. "If your business is consumer-based, think local," she says. "Local weekly or monthly newspapers often have a far [more loyal] readership than larger, metropolitan papers." Contact the editor about contributing a regular column or feature of some sort, she recommends. If you're courting businesses, Mathews suggests doing the same with the top trade publications in your market, as Fay's team did with Hospitality Design.Make yourself easy to find. Services like PRNewswire's Profnet and its affiliate, PR Leads, send story leads from journalists looking for particular types of sources and offer paid listings in their experts databases, says Mathews. And don't forget search engine optimization. Mathews adds that when journalists look for sources in particular industries, your search engine placement could mean the difference between them contacting you and them contacting your competition.