One of my latest Kindle readings include, The New Rules of Marketing & PR – 6th Edition by David Meerman Scott. In coming weeks, I’ll post more of a comprehensive book review, however, for this blog post I’ll highlight some of the gems highlighted in Chapter 20, New Rules for Reaching the Media.
For a long time, public relations professionals viewed coverage as a numbers game … full-on blitz, reach out to as many journalists and outlets as you can. The process was literally, “throwing crap against the wall to see what sticks.” The non-targeted e-blasts and sleezy methods to lure people to open the messages are partially why strategic communicators received a reputation as spammers.
The web changed the rules and traditional PR techniques are becoming less effective. To provide an example and illustrate using layman’s terms; there are parallels between a PR rep securing coverage, and an individual securing a job. I say this because in one point in time, people were able to blast resumes and play the numbers game, with hopes of landing some interviews. Now-a-days, attempting the same wouldn’t be effective, in fact, you’d be agitating people. The process takes time, and personalization. You have to KNOW the company, understand what comes along with the role, research the applicants they are likely to hire, understand expectations etc. Letters and resumes need to be customized and even then, it needs to be keyword heavy since pretty much every company has software to scan and eliminate who they deem to be unqualified. Your resume may never even reach a human.
Networking is key, because nothing trumps personal relationships. You’d be surprised how many companies post positions as a formality when they already know who they want. In both the PR example and the individual finding a job example, it is very much a “Don’t call me … I’ll find you.” Correspondence must be personalized, pay attention to the stories a journalist is likely to cover, develop personal relationships; send individualized pitches and target one reporter at a time. Do what you can to build your audience and showcase your own brand in the best possible light. This includes having a comprehensive online media room including photos and videos. “To get noticed, you need to be smart about how you tell your story on the web – and about how you tell your own story to journalists.”
Some key takeaways are as follows:
- Refrain from sending non-targeted broadcast pitches
- Develop personal relationships and send an individualized pitch, tailored to the needs of the journalist
- Target one reporter at a time and pay attention to the types of stories they cover
- Content drives marketing … make sure your information is up to date, define your niche and use hashtags