Joel Jelen

Contributor: Joel Jelen
A few hints on how to be everywhere in print, broadcast and online (incorporating some of The Do’s and Don’ts of PR)

Public relations is about engaging with your publics. In plain English, it’s how you go about promoting and sometimes defending your status, your profile, your business and your identity all rolled into one.

Many of us know how to get what we want in everyday life and use the appropriate tools of communication to get by. But it’s not just about the tools, it’s about the subtlety of course, in how you use them.

Tip1 The Right Moment – always think about when’s best to ring a media contact. Try to use informed knowledge of how a particular contact works. Yes, your approach needs to be that tailored as if they’re a client. For example, be aware of a journalist’s deadlines and conference meetings, understand and acknowledge their personality in working with them, make their life easy!
Tip2 The Right Release – think like a journalist. You can still get the salient messages across that your company is pressing you to do. Just try and avoid a page of ‘corporate waffle’ in doing so. To help you get the information the media want, be upfront with your client/boss on what the journalist wants and will use as opposed to what your boss wants.
Tip3 Remember, ‘you can tell a journalist but you can’t tell ‘em much’ (!) so the less you tell them, the more you’ll get out of it! Better to always leave them wanting more than going into PR overload. They’ll love you for the former and loathe you for the latter.
Tip4 The Right Place – there is a place for everything, meaning that what you say verbally to a journalist is crucial. For example, don’t think that if you invite a journalist to an 'off the record' informal lunch in a relaxed setting that he/she won't go and reel off what you've said. They most probably will!
Tip5 The Right Time …it’s also about when you say it – e.g. give the media the chance to maximise your story. Don’t ring them with a time sensitive scoop when’s it’s too late. Find out in advance when it won’t be too late.
Tip6 In conducting media relations, if you are required to give a quote to a journalist, always put it in writing. Even media relations’ experts do this because experience is not a substitute for always getting it right. Considered written quotes get more attention and avoid confusion, upset and libel!
Tip7 Finally for now, never think that ‘shmoozing’ a journalist, treating them to endless lunches/freebies and showering them with gifts will get you what you want. It won't! It will actually be seen as patronising, i.e. you think you can buy them! You can't! Don't event try!
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