Monday, 12 September 2011

PR is not just writing a Press Release

The topic for our Think Tank call this month was: PR is not just writing a Press Release. The call was facilitated by Andrea Lamarsaude, with BrightBlue Marketing and was Co-Hosted by Narciso Tover with Big Noise Communications.

If you had to describe public relations, what would you say?

-“Public Relations helps an organization and its public mutually adapt to each other” as defined by PRSA.

-Public image

-Means of communicating facts about your organization to the public

-Reputation management

-Fact based, things that have happened, will happen, etc. Not always marketing and/or promotion

-Message management, corporate reputation, crisis management, etc.

Should work hand in hand with marketing

-Only 1 facet of the overall marketing package

-Does not stand alone

-Reinforces the rest of your messaging

2. When you hear industry pundits talking about why the 'press release is dead' what do you think they are referring to?

-The Press Release is dead only if you don’t know how to distribute it properly or how to write it.

-You should not over use it

-Must do follow up and have a plan of how to work it

-Must use other marketing tools with a Press Release for it to be effective

-More opportunity to use the press release by posting on FB, Twitter, etc.

3. Do you think that PR stunts still work?

-Can’t be overtly obvious of trying to tell people how great you are

-Fine line between self promotion and allowing your client to shine

-Must to be in good taste with the correct audience and the correct venue

-Must target the right audience, including those that will amplify your message

- Must have a call to action

-They tend to be forgotten quickly without a call to action due to all the media we have these days and the short attention spans of Americans

-Must keep the digital minds of the “millennial” generation in mind when distributing

4. Where do you think public relations can truly shine? Can you share examples of when you or your client(s) used a press release with great success?

-When Big Noise was able to get a client on a national morning news program for the first time. The client was trying to market their Wireless Security Solution (one of the first out of the gate with this solution). It was a hot topic at that time and they used this as part of the pitch to get the client on to the program initially. Over the next few days, because of that one 2 minute interview the client’s stock value jumped 30%.

-You have to keep the momentum going; even after a big success like that you have to be ready with the next thing to keep the momentum going.

-When you bring it in together with some analyst relations efforts: Example: Vonage launch – they provided voice over IP and, while there were a lot of others out there doing the same thing, there were a lot of issues on clarity, security, industry writers bringing up the issue of calling 911, etc. So, they made sure that they tested the product with some of these influential writers in that niche and with analysts. Analysts were very good about pointing out all the issues or other applications. Analysts can help you fine tune your product before you launch because that is all they do in that niche market. Analysts can help to champion your products.

5. When thinking about crisis management and the press what are some do’s and don’ts and golden rules to live to make sure the ball does not get dropped. Can you cite some examples of where crisis management was done correctly and where it was not?

-Example: Tiger Woods- he was always a very private person so, when the scandal broke, for him to come and make a statement quickly went against his private nature, However he really should have come out immediately to stop, or at least somewhat control what eventually happened.

-Brand management has to be addressed quickly and thoughtfully. Don’t take the stance of not justifying the crisis with a response; this will not come across well to the public.

-Always have a Plan B or a Crisis plan ready. When you have the plan in place already then you will not be react emotionally. You will just follow the plan that was thought out prior to the crisis with a clear, calm head.

-The public tends to forgive faster when you are upfront, transparent and honest about the issue.

-Example: Congressman Weiner - He did go out and respond immediately, but he lied and didn’t answer the questions directly. Once the public finds out you were lying (which they usually do) you cannot regain your credibility.

6. Media Training tips:

-Find out whom in the organization is media trained and how long it has been since their training; may need a refresher course.

-Test the waters by getting the organization’s media rep. an interview with a smaller media outlet; like a hometown paper, etc. Make sure you are there to listen and assist when needed. The rep will always know if they did well or not, so you can then give them some constructive coaching.

-Have talking points for the spokesperson

-Be sure the spokesperson can say the talking points in their own words, not just reading them.

-Practice so that the spokesperson is comfortable and familiar with what they need to say.

7. Have you seen any bad pitches that various members of the press have received? Where do you think the pitch went awry?

-Form letters are bad

-Do not use Twitter, email, or the phone to try to bully a reporter, they will write a piece about it and you will not look good – they will name names.

-website: where they share bad examples for you to avoid -

Final thoughts:

-Be sure all your marketing efforts are well coordinated

-All Press Releases should be relevant to the audience

Links to further reading:

The Public Relations Society of America at their 1982 National Assembly formally adopted a definition of public relations, which remains widely accepted and used today:

“Public relations helps an organization and its publicsadapt mutually to each other.”

“Organization” is denoted in this context, as opposed to the more limiting “company” or “business,” to stress public relations’ use by businesses, trade unions, government agencies, voluntary associations, foundations, hospitals, schools, colleges, religious groups and other societal institutions.

“Publics” recognizes the need to understand the attitudes and values of — and to develop effective relationships with — many different stakeholders, such as employees, members, customers, local communities, shareholders and other institutions, and with society at large.

For more details visit the link

Big Noise Communications blog:

What is PR? Six experts explain public relations value:

Public Relations Plays a Vital Role in the News Cycle:

Is the press release *really* dead?:

Oh, And One More Thing On Fielding Questions - Media Training:

News Corp.’s Costly Crisis Management: HTTP://

Cavalcade: Crisis Management Skills – The Do’s and Don’ts:

I’m thinking of staging a PR stunt. Do they actually work?:

FD/ Forbes Insights Strategic Initiatives Study:

How Public Relations Works:

Report: PR pro is the second-most stressful job:

If you need help with your organization's PR please let us know.

If you have some great stories of how PR has worked well or maybe not so well - we would love to hear them!

1 comment:

xuechen Li said...

I am totally agreed. PR is not just writing a press Release. Actually, the PR practitioners contribute not only to the news industry but also to the companies. There is no doubt that a company’s reputation can affect its success or failure. In order keep their reputations effectively, Companies must engage with their target audiences in such a way that they create trust - and trust requires open, honest and accurate communications at all times, and PR can help with that.