10 Tips for Budding PR Pros

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If you have the most heart-wrenching, inspirational business story, but no media is around to cover it… well, you get the idea.

Sonia Sanchez, our Public Relations Manager, spoke to the Fresno State PRSSA club last month. After imparting some knowledge to the students with what she has learned from more than six years in the industry, we realized that it is basic knowledge that we should share with everyone.

How does a story make it from conception to the public?

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Let’s assume that you already have the winning idea: the story that is going to propel your company/event/whatever-it-may-be out of your office and into the limelight. Now what? It’s time to pitch.

Here are Sonia’s 10 Tips When Speaking to Media:

  1. Do your homework. Before you pitch the story to a reporter, learn what you can about the reporter and what kind of stories he or she does.
  2. Cross your T’s, dot your I’s. Whether you are writing a press release, sending an email or speaking to a reporter, your message will get lost if you don’t do it professionally.
  3. Be confident. Don’t feel nervous or fearful about contacting a journalist. They want your news.
  4. Respond quickly. If the media calls, you answer. Or at least respond as soon as possible. They are on deadline.
  5. Be personable. Writers and reporters like to talk to somebody that makes it easy for them to meet the deadline. Develop your own style and personality and reach out to them to make a genuine connection.
  6. Make it about them. Go in with the attitude of helping the reporter. Provide them with as much information as possible to help them make the deadline.
  7. Be proactive. If the interview is about to end and you haven’t delivered a key message, bring it up. Or “bridge” your message from whatever question the reporter asks.
  8. Follow through. Make sure the reporter has a contact name and phone number for any additional questions. And if you promise to provide additional information, make sure you send it!
  9. Don’t lose your cool. No matter what, stay cool, calm, and collected. If you are flustered, you are sure to forget your core messages.
  10. You are never off the record. Ever. Never say anything you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of your local newspaper.

Now, these are our ten tips. What are yours? To all of our media reps and friends, did we miss anything?