A good PR is only as good as the media contacts that they have access to. Once you have made it to the top of the game, it is easy to dash off an email to an important industry person who you know will run with the story you are looking to get out there, but getting to that privileged position takes a lot of time and a lot of work.
The positive aspect of all of this is that even the very best PR people all usually started off from a position where even the local student paper wouldn’t bother to return their emails. While this might have been true, the highly important thing to remember is that even then, those who get to the top were putting as much effort into that student newspaper message as they were on their first one to the New York Times a few years later.
Here is a little look at how best to email the media, no matter who they might be.
You are not a Machine
The first big thing to understand is that there is nothing a journalist or anybody in media hates more than an unsolicited email from somebody they do not know that looks like it has been sent out to a million people.
There is close to zero chance of this kind of email even being opened by the person you are looking to read it.
Generic emails are a massive no-no, and you should avoid them at all costs. Of course, the general content of an email may be pretty much the same for a whole lot of people, but you must always ensure that there is something in there that speaks directly to the person you want to really be in contact with.
Emails need to be thought of as a lot more than just a method for you to get a lot of your useful information out there. All emails should be seen as stepping-stones along the way to developing a real and mutually beneficial relationship with the person you are trying to get in contact with.
It is very easy to give out the first tip but it would be unfair to do so without explaining how you can best go about getting some basic information about the people you are looking to target in your PR campaign.
It is not rocket science, all you really have to do is put the work in. Read the work of the people who you want to develop a relationship with. Praise their work and show them in your email how you have actually read the things you are claiming to have read.
Follow these people on Twitter. Like them on Facebook if they have a page. Go out of your way to know as much about them as possible and then show them in your email exactly how much you have done that, without looking obsessive.
Human beings love praise and this rings especially true for journalists. Show them that you appreciate them, make then feel good, and they will be much more receptive to doing something for you in return.
Be Sharp and Clean
Once you have got your target’s attention it is important that you keep the information that you convey as sharp and clean as possible. The fastest way to undo all of your good work in getting them to read this far is to spoil it all by then leaving the reader with a jargon heavy piece of text that they just won’t be interested in.
Make sure that what you have to say is always informative and interesting without ever being overly confident or overly dry. And it is important to leave them wanting to know more, without leaving them felling as though they are not 100% sure of what it is that your email is about.
A great PR person is a great writer. Always read your own emails back to yourself at least two or three times before you send them out. Take out all but the most necessary pieces of information, and never bore.
Follow these three simple tips and you should soon be well on your way to that New York Time contact!
- License: Creative Commons image source
By Susan Glover. Susan is an independent writer and online marketing specialist based in Barcelona, Spain. In her free time Susan is a keen traveller , dancer and a surfer.
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