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Tips for Do-It-Yourself Public Relations

Michael Hess penned a great post at BNET entitled “How to Get Started Doing Your Own PR” that’s worth a read for newbies and veterans alike. Basically, it’s common sense stuff that many of us take for granted. Some recommendations:

  • Build a press list. Hess writes “I started my press list by buying every magazine on the newsstand that might be appropriate for our products and sending (via snail mail) the editors a short release announcing our new business with a photo of our products.” I’ve built mine manually as well, from contacts I’ve met or worked with. Once a month I check the local newspapers to see which names have changed, and I update accordingly.
  • Monitor and respond to open inquiries from the press. HARO is the main recommendation for this, especially since it’s free. I have to admit that I’ve had little luck with this service, but have heard good things from others. I would add that you need to respond to all queries in a timely manner; that has given me good results. Reporters remember who answers phone calls and emails, and who doesn’t.
  • Know how to write and send press releases. Hess writes, “A news release is not an ad.” Remember that the point of a news release is, well, to share news.
  • Put a process in place. Hess writes, “Don’t just fire off press releases and hope to see your big story in the paper the next day. Not gonna happen most of the time. Make sure you have a start-to-finish process in place that covers release writing, list targeting, distribution.”
  • Be professional. That includes: “Make sure your news is truly newsworthy and convey it properly.” & “Be hyper-responsive.” & “Understand the basics of lead times and deadlines, image requirements, and other elements of the trade.” & “Above all, don’t annoy your contacts.”

Please go read the entire post. Good stuff, even if it’s something you think you already know.

About Sandra Fernandez

Sandra Fernandez is a professional communicator, tech enthusiast, book lover, and blogger. You can find her main blog at SandraSays.com and more of her writing at HispanicHouston.com.

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