It is hard to imagine the semester is coming to an end. In the past four months we have accomplished a variety of tasks. Through the development of our individual blogs, we have acquired a fresh outlook on public relations. On the very first day of class we began to see the importance of social media and how most organizations are becoming more and more technologically advanced. As part of the course requirement, we each met with a PR professional of our choice. Our goal was to find out their opinion on what the best practices in public relations are. After meeting with Gregg Elkin and through class lectures, I have come up with what I believe to be the best practices in public relations.
Media Development – As a public relations practitioner, developing an understanding of the media is essential. PR is dependent on the media for publicity and the media is dependent on PR for news. With that being said, establishing a credible relationship with the media is one of the best practices in PR. There are several important factors you should consider when dealing with the media.
1. Know what the reporter does for a living
2. Compliment a recent article they wrote
3. Take a target approach to PR – this means no e-mails!
4. Face time – you trust people you’ve met
5. Be newsworthy or journalistically adept
6. Be timely by staying on top of the news
7. Be honest and be available
This semester, I was fortunate enough to meet with Gregg Elkin, media relations director for the Texas Rangers. We spent a lot of time talking about his career and just about life in general but I made sure to end it with his opinion on best practices. Elkin’s job requires him to establish effective relationships with the media and to deliver the best messages he can for the Rangers organization.
“The best practice in PR that I can give you is, know what your message is and be able to get it to as many outlets as possible,” Elkin stated in the meeting. Elkin goes on to explain the only way to do this is through your ties and relationships you have with the media.
If you are interested in improving your communication with the media check out this helpful link: http://aboutpublicrelations.net/ucgranat2a.htm
Blogging – Another best practice for PR is blogging. According to an article on webpronews.com , over "4.1 million blogs around the world with a new blog created every 7.4 seconds". Social media and blogging is changing communication. Social media is when people come together to share their ideas.
We have all become so media savvy that we are cynical of what PR people have to say. This prompts the main reason individuals turn to bloggers for news and information. Bloggers have become the voice of the people and it is important for public relations practitioners realize the benefits of blogging.
What can blogs do for PR companies?
1. They allow individuals to express themselves
2. Raise awareness of clients through word-of-mouth
3. Track trends THIS minute
4. Quick feedback for clients
5. Less time consuming
6. Blog to build credibility
7. Use blogs as a “cultural barometer”
According to Elkin, blogging is a “really good thing.” He feels the more people talking about his team the better. “It’s easy and it can reach so many people,” Elkin said.
Over the course of the semester, we had several guest speakers. Tara Hall of Weber Shandwick expressed the importance of understanding the technological advances when she said, “When I heard about what this class did, I was so excited. If any of you are seniors we are looking to hire young professionals who have experience with blogging and social media.” If only I were a senior…
Writing – This might be one of the best practices for PR that gets pushed aside by most. Professor Flournoy can’t stress enough in class the importance of writing. On top of creating our blogs for our class, we have been writing overviews, profiles and pitches to keep up with our writing skills.
Public relations practitioners need to have excellent writing skills for several reasons.
1. Written proposals must be credible and persuasive
3. Skillfully written news releases
4. Pitching a story to the media
You need to have excellent writing skills in order to be effective. Your writing has to be perfect in spelling and grammar and have absolutely NO style errors. Your writing skills have the capability of effecting your employment.
Check out http://www.writingcommission.org/pr/writing_for_employ.html for a press release on how writing skills can be a ticket to professional jobs.
Networking – The idea here is that you want to walk into a room and come out with as many business cards as you can but also take time to get to know each person. Investing time into the conversation will promote trust in the relationship. Networking is a key practice in PR. The only way you can get your message out there is through others. As I mentioned earlier, media development is important. Media development goes along with networking to some degree because you’re network is most likely going to be journalists. In the business world, it all comes down to who you know and how well you know them.
On the other hand, there is this new technological advance in social networking which is a form of social media. Just like blogging, social networking is an online tool to get connected with people. This is done through websites such as http://www.myspace.com/, where individuals create profiles and commentaries for themselves. It is important to establish social networks online because you can find out lots of information since people love to talk under the radar.
If you’re a member of myspace, you may have already noticed the vast amount of businesses that have started their own pages. I spent last summer working as the public relations intern for Backstage Creations, a premier celebrity product placement company. Part of my job was starting up a myspace page because my boss saw the benefits of such a network. Immediately after signing up and creating a page we were establishing friends and receiving messages. This gave our clients increased exposure and proved to be extremely beneficial in promoting the 2006 Teen Choice Awards. To check out the website go to: Backstage Creations
Research- Conducting research is extremely important for PR practitioners. This needs to be done before a campaign goes out to the public. Research allows you to analyze your public and learn how to please them. PR involves researching for several different things.
1. Understanding your client
2. Understanding your client’s industry
3. Looking for stories
4. Figuring out what journalists are writing about
5. Researching the competition
After doing the research, you have to analyze and determine what is important and what might benefit your client. Conducting research will make the message of your client more effective.
Exectutive vice president of PR for the Shelton group gave our class her opinion of the best practices. "We focus a lot of our time on researching for our clients because we want to have as much information and background as possible," Stacey Gaswirth said.
Check out: http://www.backboneresearch.com/about.htm to learn about a company who specializes in research for companies.
Check out my classmates blogs for additional best practices in PR!