Perhaps it is because I’m on deadline to write several stories today and my procrastination gene is kicking in, but I felt the need to shed some insight on simple tactics that PR folks tend to overlook.
The PR focus is always to secure the coverage, and then the attention span goes elsewhere. But here are five simple tactics that will get you better coverage (and get you on the friends list of a busy writer) that you can implement right now:
(1) Always send the writer low resolution photos of the installation project.
It is rare that I have a PR contact send me photos of the project that I’m tasked to describe. Imagine telling someone about the AV set-up in your living room, and then asking them to write about what your living room looks and feels like even though they’ve never step foot there. They could probably do an okay job, but the quality of the description would increase dramatically if you showed them a photo of the space.
(2) An equipment list sorted by room, then by quantity, make, and model.
I understand that a “real” equipment list includes items like cable trays, connectors, and even the number of pens needed for the job. Taking a few moments to sort, edit, and organize the equipment list into a document that is readable goes a very long way in saving the writer from guessing whether it was the ABC brand LCD or the XYZ brand LCD that was installed in the lobby.
An organized equipment list minimizes mistakes and eliminates guessing and extra fact-checking.
(3) An email with the proper spelling of names and titles.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed to ask for someone’s job title, only to get a response after the deadline. Scouring the web or LinkedIn will get the writer a job title; it just may not be the right one since not everyone remembers to update their profiles (unless they’re looking for a new job.)
(4) Awareness of the editorial process.
The writer writes, the editor edits, and the graphic designer or art director handles the graphics and high resolution photos. Most times the writer sends in their copy to the editor and doesn’t see it again until it’s in print. Asking the writer why the article was edited a certain way will get you nothing (except a cranky writer.)
Also, asking a writer when something will get published (such as: When does the March issue come out?) will also get you nothing (except a snarky answer of: In March) since the writer is already working on the next issue.
A question about street date should go to the editor. He or she is the captain of the ship. The writer is more like the engine room custodial engineer.
(5) Respecting the deadline
Writers push for a reason. If we consistently don’t make deadline, there are other writers who are ready to take our job. Knowing the writer’s timetable and delivering some of the previously-mentioned items on time, goes a very, very long way in getting you on the writer’s friend list.
And, finally, don’t call or email on the actual deadline day and ask how it’s going. Cordial exchanges go out the window when 2,000 words are due by 5:00 pm.