5 PR myths – busted!

Pr myths busted

Everybody in the communications game knows not to believe everything they hear, so MediaHQ.com decided to debunk five PR myths.

There are plenty of misconceptions in the PR industry that clients sometimes believe to be facts.

We pick through a handful of the biggest myths that PR pros have to confront:

1. There is such a thing as guaranteed coverage

Axed stories are a reality of the newsroom, and if a pitch isn’t newsworthy, then an editor won’t run it.

Just because a PR pro has a good relationship with an particular journalist doesn’t mean they can influence their editorial decisions.

PR requires extensive networking, but the relationships that are built are strictly professional, and PR pros must always respect a journalist’s integrity.

It is counter-productive to bombard journalists with pitches that are self-promotional and that don’t stand up as good stories on their own. Quality content will always trump connections.

2.  It’s all about the press release

Press releases are a tool for PR pros to use to help deliver their client’s message to the media. They are helpful for summarising company announcements, but they are just one piece of the machine.

Share your story on as many platforms as possible: Post it to the company blog, share it via social media and think about the best approach to communicating your message through each medium.

Press releases are much more effective if PR pros tailor their strategy to target influential journalists that are relevant to a particular story.

MediaHQ.com has built a tool that allows you to identify and target the right people in our database of over 7,500 journalists.

Read more: 5 simple rules to ensure your press release is successful

3. PR drives sales

PR is about reputation management, and helps develop a call-to-action that can lead to a sale, but a PR strategy cannot replace a sales strategy.

The two work in tandem: PR creates brand awareness, which a sales team can draw on when they approach potential leads.

4. PR pros don’t understand the news

One of the great skills required to become a PR pro master is the ability to think like a journalist – to develop a nose for news and know what makes a good story.

In fact, many working in PR are former hacks and have jumped the journalism ship themselves. They have a deep understanding of the culture of a newsroom, which they share with their colleagues.

5. All news is good news

A cliché as well as a myth: No PR pro wants to find themselves caught up in the depths of a PR crisis. Unfortunately, it does happen. Instead of taking a backseat and being satisfied that at least your client is getting some coverage, learn how to solve a PR crisis under pressure.

What is the biggest PR myth you would like to see busted? Tweet us @mediahqnews.

This article first appeared on MediaHQ.com.

How a blog post can help defuse a PR crisis

MediaHQ.com’s award-winning team is hosting a blogging course on February 24.

Every company faces a PR crisis, and while a blog post won’t save you from an onslaught of criticism, it can at least help you defuse a sticky situation.

A blog is used to shape your brand’s public voice, creating trust and humanising the company by using a conversational but authoritative tone.

With this in mind, a carefully crafted blog post shows honesty when you’re hit by a crisis and won’t be misinterpreted as a method of putting spin on the story.

Continue reading “How a blog post can help defuse a PR crisis”

Grammar Happy: How to dish out the digits

Grammar Happy, how to write numbers in press release

We turn to our media bible, the AP Stylebook, to learn how to present the numbers after we’ve crunched them.

The general rule is to spell out numbers one through nine. After that, use numerical figures for 10 and above.

It sounds pretty straightforward, but as always, there are exceptions:

Continue reading “Grammar Happy: How to dish out the digits”

3 unconventional tips for nailing that PR job interview

PR job interview, tips

One of MediaHQ.com’s most popular posts this week listed the PR and communications jobs that are currently available in Ireland, so we decided to help out the applicants that manage to secure themselves a job interview.

We all know that you’re supposed to show up on time, offer the interviewer a hearty handshake and brush up on your knowledge of the company, so here are three extra tips that will give you a better chance of securing your dream PR job.

Continue reading “3 unconventional tips for nailing that PR job interview”

Create content that resonates – MediaHQ shows you how to blog your way to success

blogger

This article first appeared on MediaHQ.com.

 

A successful blog can really benefit an in-house PR team.

It allows you to humanise your brand and it helps you create trust with your customers. It also lets you establish your brand as an authoritative voice in your area of expertise.

We want to share with you some things we’ve learned from our own blogging experience.

Know your audience

This is the golden rule of all writing. Who am I actually writing this for?

We know that MediaHQ’s audience is largely made up of people working in communications, so we appeal to their wide range of interests and assume they have a high level of knowledge of the media.

Consider when you are going to post and how often — that’s how you will build up a regular audience. Our target is a minimum of three to four a day, every day.

Experiment and see when you gain the most traction.

Part of growing an audience includes sticking to a schedule. Don’t just post randomly. Try and come up with at least two months’ worth of material in advance so you have a shelf of ideas you that you can draw upon. Gather together a combination of concise targeted pieces and longer feature articles.

Asking experts to write guest posts can also enrich your content (we’ve done it). The point is to try different strategies. See what elements work well on the blog and then turn them in regular features on your site.

4 tools for PR Pros that want to create cracking content

Is this worth sharing?

Before a MediaHQ.com blogger writes a post, they ask themselves: “Would I read this?” If the answer is anything but a solid yes, then it is not worth doing.

Today’s readers are becoming much more selective about what they click on. Pure bait tactics just aren’t sustainable. You need to give your audience something that will educate them on more than just company news — offer them something that will make them want to come back for more.

Of course, you should definitely use your blog to highlight recent achievements or promote a new product, but don’t stop there. Focus on the culture that surrounds your brand.

If you can own your brand’s niche then you will build up credibility in your area of expertise, and ultimately gain the trust of potential customers.

It also gives you the opportunity to syndicate material to media outlets (it worked for us). Again, this will help establish you as the go-to guys in your area of expertise. Journalists might even call on you to respond to a news event.

Develop a voice

A blog can really help shape your brand’s public voice. It creates trust and personifies the company.

It is really up to you to decide what voice will most appeal to your audience, but the tone should be both conversational and authoritative.

You have to be consistent. Why not draw up a brief style guide to follow? That way you can be strategic about your blog posts, instead of churning out mismatched content.

It is helpful in crisis situations if you adopt a strong voice. A blog post won’t entirely save you from a PR nightmare (if you want tips on how to solve a crisis under pressure, look here), but it can at least help defuse the situation. A carefully written blog post shows honesty and won’t be misinterpreted as method of putting spin on the story.

5 tools for social listening

Make it newsy

Follow the news agenda. Think like a journalist and write posts that respond to timely topics.

It will help your blog posts travel further on social media and it allows you to open a dialogue with customers.

Upcoming event: Learn how to create amazing content that resonates

Share, share, share

Categorise the content and add tags in order to boost SEO.

Make sure you regularly plug your posts on relevant social media platforms. If you need to brush up on your social media skills, take a master class.

If you are writing about people who have a strong presence on Twitter, for example, be sure to link to their handles. If you can entice them to share the post, then you have successfully managed to boost your views.

What are your blogging tips? Share them with us, @mediahqnews.

Conor – @conormcmahon

Why did a mattress company open a newsroom?

This article first appeared on MediaHQ.com.

Former journalists have always been valued in marketing: They understand the components of a good story, they know the culture of a newsroom, and they can write.

But in 2016 we see a growing trend in marketeers hiring journalists to work as journalists, not PR pros.

Their role is to create a community around a brand, rather than write content that is exclusively concerned with sales: Think of the documentaries on counter-culture presented by Doc Martens.

Media consumers value content that digs a little deeper; they want to feast on something that offers them sustenance rather than SEO junk, and journalists are equipped with the skills to ask good questions, find interesting sources and ensure that articles are reader-focussed.

It has been almost seven months since the New York-based mattress company Casper opened a newsroom.

The self-described “sleep startup” hired journalists to work on its online publication, Van Winkle’s, which is funded by Casper, but isn’t part of their marketing budget.

Gawker-founder and former editor-in-chief of the New York Observer Elizabeth Spiers was hired as Editorial Director, with journalist Jeff Koyen as editor-in-chief and three other editorial staffers.

The two ventures share the same office space, but Van Winkle’s doesn’t feature reviews of Casper’s products or report company news. In fact, mattresses are a “blacklisted” topic. Why? Because mattresses just aren’t all that interesting.

‘Own’ a niche

So what is the purpose in funding the publication? There weren’t any media outlets specialising in the topic for Casper to partner with, so they decided to create their own.

The intention is that the site will “own” the topic of sleep as a niche. They then become the “go-to guys” when it comes to sleep and wellbeing.

Van winkles homepage

Van Winkle’s identifies itself as an “addition to the cultural phenomenon around wellness and lifestyle. While there are numerous publications covering fitness, shelter, and wellness, no single publication owns the conversation around sleep.”

Knowledge bank

It might sound a bit naff to write solely on the topic of sleep, but editor-in-chief Jeff Koyen recognises it as an important issue: “Sleep may account for one-third of our time, but it affects us around the clock. It may be the most important influence on our daily lives.”

And there is a host of material available to cover: Van Winkle’s publishes at least 10 original articles every day, including in-depth features, investigative reports and columns.

The material has nothing to do with Casper’s products, but it helps establish them as the powerhouse behind all things sleep.

Brand recognition

An important feature of their model is syndication. They disseminate material to websites that are hungry for content. One of their biggest customers is Huffington Post.

The service is free, but their website outlines that “You must cite us as the original source with the following text: This article originally published by Van Winkle’s, vanwinkles.com, the editorial division of Casper Sleep.”

The idea is that their material does not push the sale too much — it is a slow burner that will eventually build a community and play an active role in shaping the company’s brand voice.

The learning outcome for PR pros is that brands should focus on building lifestyles, rather than simply looking for material that is blatantly about increasing sales.

Good content marketing is about creating something is actually entertaining and newsworthy, and today’s media consumers are becoming much more fussy about what they consume.

Check out MediaHQ.com’s upcoming course on brand storytelling.