Friday, November 10, 2006

PR Myth No. 4

Myth No. 4: Big feature stories are all that count.
Reality: Size of readership is what counts.
A common belief among business owners, according to Iris Salsman, Salsman-Lundgren Public Relations, is that a small mention is completely worthless. “People think they have to get a big, giant article or feature for press to be worthwhile,” she explains. “This is a misconception because it’s more important for the mention to appear in a highly visible place that’s read by many people. You have to pay more attention to the viewership or the readership.”

Thursday, November 09, 2006

PR Myth No. 3

Myth No. 3: Just because I’m in business means my company should be mentioned.
Reality: Companies with well-developed, fascinating background stories make for better reading.

Business owners should have a story to tell. Most importantly, the story has to be interesting and add value for readers or listeners. “Just because you’re in business doesn’t mean you have a good story,” said Steve Turner, owner of Solomon Turner PR. “There has to be a good background to the article, something that makes it unique from other kinds of businesses.”
Denise Bentele, president and CEO of Common Ground Public Relations, Inc., advises her clients to find ways to tell their stories through multiple avenues. Ask yourself: Is this a business story? A trade industry story? An economic impact story? Is there a human story to the enterprise? Cultivate all of these angles so that when you do start talking to media, says Bentele, you’re able to impress reporters from different beats within the media. “Remember,” she says, “you’re not only talking to business reporters, you’re trying to get into other sections of a paper or another news outlet.”

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

PR Myth No. 2

Myth No. 2: Personal, closed-door relationships between press agents and editors make all the difference.
Reality: Journalists are looking for better stories, not better friends.
“Sometimes people in other lines of business believe successful media relations are a result of having personal, closed-door relationships, like over beers or something,” says Denise Bentele, president and CEO of Common Ground Public Relations, Inc. This couldn’t be less true. In the real world, a press agent’s job is to cultivate multiple stories with relevance for his or her client’s business.
Because so many business owners believe this falsehood, they think all it takes for good media relations is hiring a local public relation’s person who’s tied in with local media. “In reality,” as Bentele explains, “a good media relations person should be able to speak with almost any reporter and at least have a healthy dialogue about an issue, whether the reporter chooses to pursue the story or not.”
Mark Bretz, owner of Bretz Public Relations, explains that personal relationships are important for him in the sense of opening doors, but as a professional public relations practitioner, it’s his obligation to ensure that his news pitch has substantial value. “If an editor doesn’t believe the story I pitch has merit, he won’t do it,” Bretz said.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

PR Myth No. 1

Myth No. 1: Public relations and advertising are the same.
Reality: You can’t buy good press.
With the exception of certain publications, buying advertising space will not automatically score your business a good headline or your owner a juicy quote. This is especially true in the realm of big media: CNN, USA Today, The St. Louis Post Dispatch, etc.
“Editorial and advertisement are totally separate departments, and it’s sort of the journalistic law that they be independent and you cannot buy stories. Publications, and the media in general, don’t owe you simply because you are an advertiser,” explains Iris Salsman, co-founder Salsman Lundgren Public Relations, Inc.
On a similar note, don’t expect a reporter or publication to espouse the beauty of your business exactly the way you would like it in an article—that’s not their job. Steve Turner, principal and co-founder Solomon Turner PR, says newswriters work to accurately report stories to their readers and make them interesting. “If that includes positive information about your business, then great. In most cases it will. But people should realize that they aren’t getting a free ad simply because they’ve included an article in that publication.”