Skip to main content

5 Tips For Public Relations Best Practices

5 Tips For Public Relations Best Practices

PR Tips from an Expert

By Christine Condon

Karen Jayne Greenwood, a.k.a. “KJ,” knows public relations inside and out—and delivered an eye-opening Jam Session for Ellevate’s professional women’s network. For those that need tips on how to leverage PR to promote their business, KJ gives a deep dive on approaching the media and getting coverage for your product—or for yourself as a thought leader. Best of all, she shares how to perfect the media pitch.

Karen Jayne Greenwood’s Top 5 Tips for Media Best Practices for the Savvy Professional Woman:

1. Begin by creating your own PR plan.

Just as you begin any project and strategy, do your homework and have a goal in mind. Perform research and discovery. Decide on a goal—make it broad. Outline objectives and strategies while making them specific and measurable.

Identify target audiences; define your target customer and craft a pitch that speaks to them. Shape the persona of your targets. Determine what’s important to them. Are they married? Single? Do they have kids? Where have they travelled? Do they like to travel? The more specific you can be, the better you can target the right customer.

Finally, perform program evaluation: benchmark current numbers so that you can effectively track results.

2. Know your media outlets.

First consider geographic proximity. A rule of thumb is to start with local media, then regional, then national. KJ does not sugar coat the amount of work that goes into this step. You’ll need to research the media and immerse yourself in various outlets that cover your industry. Examine articles being written about products similar to yours, and make note of the following:

How is the information organized?

What are the price points?

What headlines catch your eye? What headlines can you borrow and use?

Which writers are writing recurring features that you may want to write about your product?

Incorporate these learnings into your outreach.

3. Build your media list and materials.

Once you’ve research the outlets that work for you, create a master Excel sheet that lists your contacts with: Name, title, email, pitch sent, notes and next steps.

Create a media kit that can be printed and that is appropriate for mobile and tablet viewing. Your kit should be comprised of these important components:

- Fact Sheet about your brand

- News Release

- Your contact Info (and the contact info of your CEO)

- Executive bios or Q&A

- High-resolution product images on white background

- Consider creating a video asset as well—make it sharable and embeddable. It should be under three minutes; 30 seconds is ideal.

4. How to communicate with the media—this is where your pitch comes in!

Timing is everything in the PR pitch process. Send monthly print publications your pitch 6+ months out. Dailies and weeklies should be contacted one week out. Make contact with bloggers 2+ days in advance.

Refer to the editorial calendar to cut through the noise. Does the magazine have a themed issue? “Ed-cal” pitching is a top priority. A pitch can be used three times: first to magazines, then to bloggers or weeklies, and then to dailies.

When it comes to crafting your pitch, address your media contact by name. Suggest a topic that is well-researched and relevant to the publication. KJ says, “Remember your job is to make the editor’s job easier. They have a story to write; you have information they need to write the story.”

Personalize pitches to bloggers by spending time reading their blog over a few days and weeks—comment on their post or on social media. Craft a pitch customized to them.

Make it easy for the editor to see how your story fits into the publication. Give easy access to expert quotes. Never send the same pitch to all your media contacts.

This is so critical: Write the pitch you want to read about. KJ tells us, “These days the media is more pressed for time than ever before. It’s amazing how often parts of your pitch will make it into the actual article. Use this to your advantage but be mindful of it… Emulate the tone of the publication. If you’re pitching to a celebrity magazine, do your best “Gossip Girl” impression. If you’re pitching to a business publication, give stats and quotes that demonstrate thought leadership from your CEO or founder.”

KJ advises professional women to consider these various pitch angles to kick-start their creativity:

- Current trend

- Celebrity connection

- Destination-specific

- Point in time hook

- Seasonal tie-in

- Gift guide that ties into your product

5. Make the most of your media coverage.

When you get coverage, make it work hard for you. Promote it across social media. Blog about it. Feature yourself—update your website with “as seen in.” Make it easy for people to share your news item by providing a sample post. Always follow up with your media contact after the article runs to thank them—it goes a long way.

Be a helpful, dependable source for the media. Consistently keep in touch with editors, even during down time. This is how you build and nurture relationships with the editors and reporters. And as KJ says, “Keep calm, and keep pitching!” 


Continue learning with this Ellevate Playbook.:

Community Discussion
Stephanie Trager
Stephanie Trager

Great article thank you Christine!

May 1, 2015

Adrienne Mitchell
Adrienne Mitchell

KJ is right on target when she says it's important to know your media outlets. I can't tell you the number of times I've gotten a completely inappropriate pitch for the kind of news I cover. And relationship-building is also so important; I am much more likely to work with a PR person to find an appropriate angle -- even if the initial pitch isn't a perfect fit -- if it's someone I've worked with in the past, and who has established a relationship and rapport with me.

May 1, 2015