20/01/2011

By Patrick Smith, Joshua PR

If you’re about to start a PR campaign, to help you raise the profile of your company or product, then you have almost certainly considered online PR. For many people, online PR is viewed as easier, or certainly less daunting — there are more online publications to target and there aren’t as many scary journalists. Yet to get the best results, you still have to know the ‘rules’ and ‘tricks of the trade’.

All PR starts with the fundamentals of getting the right story to the right person at the right time. However, what is considered ‘right’ will differ according to the medium.

For the print media, whether the national press or your free local paper, it is always going to be about quality news that is targeted for the audience. Print publications rely on advertising and cover sales for their existence and both of these require a consistently high-quality product.

To achieve coverage, you can research the correct journalists from the appropriate publications that are right for your story. The trick then is to contact them at the right time to pitch to them. Simple … but daunting.

For many people then, online publications may be the next port of call.

Yet to get the best coverage, you still have to get things right. To help determine what is right, it might help to know what motivates the publication. For most online publications the business model is based on ‘eyeballs’ — getting as many people to read an article as possible. Often sites will use a series of buzzwords to provide the bait to attract attention.

So, to fit in with this, think about - How can your article be linked to one of the big names in your sector? How can you edit a story for greater consumption? How can you ultimately aide the number of views for the website you are targeting? If you targeting a technology publication, for example, can Apple or Nokia be mentioned in your article or headline?

If it’s blogs that you want to target for coverage, then there is another set of considerations to be aware of.

Most blogs are born from a passion for the subject. They are often a hobby for someone with a full-time job — often in a completely unrelated field.

Yet again, this means a distinct and targeted approach is needed.

For most bloggers it is not a commercial venture. So you must either offer them something that matches their passion, or find a way to help them ‘keep the wolf from the door’ — which doesn’t mean paid-for posts, as many blogs look unfavourably on that kind of offer.

What you can do though, is show you understand the situation they are in. For example if you want to meet up to discuss your story, maybe you could offer travel expenses and arrange to meet outside of normal working hours.

All PR, whether you are targeting print, online or blog coverage has the same essential formula: right story, right person and right time. However, it is what constitutes ‘right’ that differs in each case. But if you can find the answer to that, then you can generate great coverage in all three.

Patrick Smith is founder of Joshua PR - www.joshuapr.com


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