First of all, realise that all the media – television, radio, newspapers, newsletters, blogs, and online news sites – revolve around the priority of increasing the size of their audience. The more people who watch, listen, or read them, the more they – management and the advertising people, not the journalist, can charge their advertisers to sell their product.
So, all media are interested in news stories that will interest their audience and keep them from going elsewhere, and will attract new viewers, readers, and listeners. With this in mind, here we have the first of our seven rules for successful public relations.
“Always let the media know the number of people in their present and potential audience who are affected, or could be affected by your story,” said John Crane Vita, author of $10,000 of Publicity for your Small Business. Following are John’s six other rules on which he says effective public relations are anchored.
Always include in your story pitch to the media a time peg to force the journalist to report the story at a specific time.
Put everything in the highest common denominator. “Instead of saying, ‘one in three Chicagoland residents is the victim of crime,’ figure out the total Chicagoland population. Since there are eight million residents, simply divide eight million by three and your news hook to the story idea is: 2.7 million Chicagoans have been the victim of a crime,” explained Vita, formerly of CBS TV affiliate in Chicago.
Always (snail) mail (or eMail) your ideas in – never make cold calls to the media. “Never, ever make a cold call sales pitch for one of your ideas over the phone. Mail (eMail) everything in,” said Vita. “This way the journalist can look at your idea at his or her convenience, not yours.”
Always assume the journalist is on a deadline and his or her time is very valuable. Make their job as easy as possible.
Don’t oversaturate your media sources. Don’t expect one reporter or one media outlet to continually give you publicity week after week.
Everything you say to a reporter can be used by that reporter in a story. If you want to tell a reporter something that he or she may not use in a story, you must have permission from the journalist to go “off record,” and then tell him or her what you want kept out of the story.
Bonus Rule #8
On second thought, if I were you, I’d never go “off the record” reporters… not that they can’t be trusted. I firmly believe that if you don’t want to see something aired on or in print – keep your trap shut! Source: Courtesy of John Crane Vita, author of $10,000 of Publicity for your Small Business.
If you have a rule that is not mentioned here, we invite you to share it with us in the comments section below.