Over the years, there have been a few PR experts that have stood out to myself; namely Shona Boyd. She is an industry veteran in Sydney and has had every big name client under the sun. She is more professional than the rest and without doubt is one of the few people in the industry that guarantee results. She has a no bullshit radar, and refuses to work with people who can't sit straight. I love her. She was one of the first real PR people that I have ever met.
Then there were others that came along, without qualifications but equally capable in getting column centremeters like Roxy Jacenko. They have built their businesses on largely fluffy PR but have done so with gust and have certainly gained my admiration.
I played the PR game earlier on. I realised that it was a quick way to make some serious money. I worked on the more serious part of the equation; public listings, technology PR, business PR and alike. It was fun. All it required was an ability to write a press release and build a relationship with a journalist. By knowing what the journalist was interested in, I was able to tell the client upfront whether or not they had a chance of getting published or not.
For that privilege, I wrote the press release in 20 minutes and charged $2,500 per piece. Easy money and paid the rent. Didn't get much better than that.
Gosh times have changed. Why did I ever stop doing this. Now, we charge a few hundred dollars for writing a press release and send it out to a database. Not the same results might I add, but it seems that that is what most people are doing and getting away with.
Great PR people have the following qualitites:
- An interest in the topic they are writing about to the point that they can not only relay everything in the media release but include important facts to go with the press release that the journalist would not have easy access to including the sources.
- Knowledge and background on the journalist. Understand what the journalist writes about and whether or not they have written too much on the topic you are trying to pitch, as it will be less likely to run.
- Creative publicists make journalists jobs a lot easier. Finding ways to make front page stories interesting means less work for the journalist who has put in a long day with little real reward, just a low pay check that they know they deserve more from.
- No typos: It's true, journalist hate typos. People like me should never be writing press releases especially if I am too lazy to proof check.
- Honesty: If you don't trust your client, don't write about them and certainly don't pitch them to a journo. I remember years ago I thought a particular new client who was referred by a friend was full of shit. He was. And it got worse, when the journalist at The Australian worked it out, he threatened him with his life. I died inside and apologized profusely. Luckily for me I think the journalist felt sorry for me that I was so naive as to how these people operate. Payback was a bitch and for years, that guy was splattered all over A Current Affair.
A good public relations offer plans, develops, and puts into place and evaluates information and communications strategies that present an organisation to the public, clients and other stakeholders. They also promote good information flow within organisations.
Certain tasks that PR officers perform include:
- Monitor media articles and public opinion
- Develop and implement communications strategies for an organisation and advise management on any issues that may arise
- Develop key messaging guides for the organisation and for key spokespeople
- Respond to all media inquiries
- Write, edit and arrange production of newsletters, in-house magazines, and brochures
- Write speeches, prepare visual aids and make public presentations
- Organise special events such as open days, visits, exhibitions, tradeshows, seminars, websinars.
- Plan, develop and manage brand identity
- Procure sponsorships
For the PR people that have that extra special something to bring to the table:
- Have a Twitter account with more than 20,000 followers
- Follow every journalist in your book and more
- Write tweets to every journalist that you are pitching to so they remember your name and pitch
- Connect with every journalist on LinkedIn
- Connect with every journalist on Instagram
Then last and not least, join www.sourcebottle.com
ingle, yet effective, with consistent opportunities!!
Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.