Why you need to hire a PR professional

media-relations-picThere’s an adage that says the person who represents himself in court has a fool for a lawyer. The same is true of PR.

Everyone thinks they can write – after all, many people do it every day, right? But to write effectively, you need to be focused, concise and objective.

To successfully engage with the media, you must know how they think, what story angle is going to resonate with decision-makers, how to interact with reporters and how to be a valuable resource for them. That makes you a valuable resource for your client, and those skills aren’t learned overnight.

The best PR pros have a news background

Before I became a PR consultant, I was a reporter and editor at daily newspapers. I interviewed sources, wrote copy on deadline and selected front-page stories. I was a decision-maker who rose to that position by spending years in the industry. I also established positive, long-term relationships with reporters at other print, broadcast and digital outlets.

Yet I’ve had business people ask me to chat over coffee so they can discover how to quickly “get some good PR.” They want to save money, yet get maximum results.

The lesson to learn is this: A seasoned PR consultant is well worth the investment.

First impressions count – a lot

You have only one chance to create a positive experience during an interview, and you need training to make the most of the opportunity.

A trained PR professional:

  • Understands the media
  • Knows which news outlet would be the best fit for you
  • Has relationships with media that can lead to interviews
  • Can develop key messages to help meet business goals
  • Will walk you through the interview process so there are no surprises
  • Knows how to prepare you to answer any question
  • Can maximize the interview by posting it on social media and interacting with your followers

How to Protect Your Brand

Life is short, and so are interviews. With mere minutes to get your message across, you could easily waste the opportunity by forgetting your key points – or worse, you could damage your brand.

It takes expertise to develop concise, powerful messages. It also takes discipline and training to stick to those messages.

OK, you say, what’s the worst that can happen if I don’t have media training before an interview? Glad you asked. If you aren’t trained, you could:

  • Walk into an interview not knowing what to expect
  • Forget your talking points
  • Get distracted by your surroundings
  • Begin to ramble
  • Be caught flat-footed by a tough question
  • Waste a valuable opportunity
  • Damage your brand

That’s why a seasoned PR consultant is vital. People who try to handle their own PR, particularly in crisis situations, often end up with fool for a client.

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PR Tip

How to Craft a Successful TV pitch

Always remember that, when pitching the media, it’s important to consider what they want.

And what does TV news want most of all? Visuals, and lots of them.

Today’s audiences like action, and lots of it. With the advent of social media, attention spans are dwindling by the second. In order to grab and keep viewers, you have to keep offering information that is interesting and relevant.

No media outlet wants to air a static interview where you see only talking heads. Think about B-roll, background video that you can provide to help illustrate your story. Consider using statistics to create a graphic. Offer before and after photos, provide logos of your business, write bullet points that can be superimposed, or “supered,” onscreen, give them your web address, etc.

Most important, remember it’s not all about what you want. To successfully pitch a topic, consider what audiences want, and you’ll likely get the chance to tell your story.

What Sue’s Clients Say

Sue has an extraordinary ability to connect with the media. She is gifted at finding angles that appeal to news directors and reporters and is meticulous in preparing her guests for interviews. Sue worked with Stillwaters Cancer Support Services to promote our annual Hospital Food Fight fundraiser. Not only did she secure a slot for us on The Morning Blend, our target audience, but she walked us through every aspect of the interview.

Immediately after the show aired, registrations and calls were coming in. We got rave reviews for our interview skills on the show, and it was all because of Sue’s expert coaching. She also helped promote the interview and the event via social media. I can’t recommend her highly enough - her media connections, media training, writing and editing are stellar.

Theresa Reagan, Executive Director, Stillwaters Cancer Support Services, Waukesha, Wis.