PR Beyond The Press Release


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On Monday 26th October 2009 Mark Ellis and Jude Habib of sounddelivery delivered a workshop called PR: Beyond the Press Release. The session was part of a day of training organised by the Media Trust for the Learning Revolution Festival. The 1 hour workshop aimed to get participants thinking of all the on- and off-line activities they could utilise to boost their media presence and attract attention to cause.

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PR Beyond The Press Release

  1. 1. PR Beyond the Press Release: planning & ideas for successful media coverage Mark Ellis & Jude Habib sound delivery
  2. 2. Press Release Dos and Don’ts <ul><li>Use short, simple sentences – avoid flowery language </li></ul><ul><li>Include relevant contact details </li></ul><ul><li>Use attention grabbing headlines </li></ul><ul><li>Include a photograph or details on how to obtain one </li></ul><ul><li>Write quotes in your press release </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure the date is on the release </li></ul><ul><li>Write “Press Release” at the top of the page. </li></ul><ul><li>Try to keep to one page as much as possible. </li></ul><ul><li>Proof read for typing, spelling and grammatical errors </li></ul><ul><li>Send release to correct person – careful targeting essential! </li></ul><ul><li>Use exclamation marks!!! </li></ul><ul><li>Use technical language and jargon </li></ul><ul><li>Write long sentences or paragraphs </li></ul><ul><li>Send your press release after an event – its no longer news </li></ul><ul><li>Send a press release and then go on holiday or go into hibernation </li></ul><ul><li>Just write “press release” in the subject line of your email </li></ul>Do Don’t
  3. 3. 5 keys to local media coverage <ul><li>L </li></ul><ul><li>E </li></ul><ul><li>A </li></ul><ul><li>R </li></ul><ul><li>N </li></ul><ul><li>Local </li></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><li>Available </li></ul><ul><li>Relationships </li></ul><ul><li>News </li></ul>
  4. 4. Local <ul><li>What’s the local angle? </li></ul><ul><li>Look for genuine local connections – stories and anecdotes, exhibitions, history, funding </li></ul>
  5. 5. Examples <ul><li>Case Studies </li></ul><ul><li>Interviewees </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure your story matches the media – a story without pictures is ideal for radio </li></ul>
  6. 6. Availability <ul><li>Be prepared for last-minute requests even for pre-planned stories, and try to be patient </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t offer up guests you haven’t checked are available in the hope they’ll take a substitute at the last minute. </li></ul><ul><li>Groom and support your organisation spokesperson (someone who loves attention and will put the media first) – Max Clifford, John Bird, Paul Cavadino, etc… </li></ul>
  7. 7. Relationships <ul><li>Do make friends </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be shy </li></ul><ul><li>Do be persistent </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t rely solely on the planning desk </li></ul><ul><li>Do get contact details and stay in touch </li></ul><ul><li>Do suggest partnership projects </li></ul>
  8. 8. News <ul><li>Newsworthiness – if you think the story you’re pushing is dull, don’t bother or freshen up the angle. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep abreast of what’s happening – look for tie-ins with current events/soap story lines/TV programmes/other news stories.etc… </li></ul><ul><li>React immediately – if you spot a good connection don’t wait until tomorrow to put some calls in. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Generating Coverage <ul><li>Briefings </li></ul><ul><li>Lunches/Dinners/Drinks </li></ul><ul><li>Events </li></ul><ul><li>Visits (to your offices, facitities, shops, projects: home and abroad, etc…) </li></ul><ul><li>Photocalls </li></ul><ul><li>Stunts </li></ul>
  10. 10. St Thomas’s Hospital donor appeal
  11. 11. Planning your PR activity <ul><li>Objectives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ to raise profile/awareness’ is not specific enough. Why do you want to raise awareness? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Target audiences – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>think through all the stakeholders whose opinions and actions affect your work. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Key messages – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>develop a crib sheet listing all your key messages and see how many points you can earn on each communications opportunity. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Communication methods – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>think beyond media relations. Other options include direct mail, exhibitions, shop window displays, and inviting the media to visit your facility. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Planning your PR activity <ul><li>Plan your time – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>focus your efforts at strategic points to create the most noise. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Budget – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>where will your money be best spent? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Evaluation – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>how will you measure achievement against the objectives identified? Plan in a debrief to identify what works and what doesn’t. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. What else? <ul><li>Write your own brief </li></ul><ul><li>Collate your “media resources” </li></ul><ul><li>Journalists don’t do you favours on purpose! </li></ul><ul><li>Borrow other people’s ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Monitor your performance </li></ul>
  14. 14. Brainstorm <ul><li>Divide into groups – and work through creative plan for a news story </li></ul><ul><li>(for M + J to discuss) </li></ul>