PR Survivor

By: Jule Gamache

Last week’s Regional Activity hosted at Penn State was such a great experience. It was a long day filled with lectures by PR pros and lots of networking. I had a fantastic time learning first hand tips from the pros about life in public relations. The keynote speaker, Michael Hinman, specializes in environmental PR. He presented us with some great tips for what he called “crafting the conversation.” In other words, identify an issue and create buzz around that issue.

1. Listening
2. Know your target audience
3. Personalize your outreach
4. Provide plenty of details
5. Be persistent.

Find out exactly what a reporter tends to write about before you pitch your idea. Highlight the things in your idea that will go over well with the audience to whom you pitch. Make the pitch so detailed that the reporter will not need to do very much research. If you present them with the bulk of the information, they will be likely to consider your story. Finally, if you do not hear back or they turn you down, send another email. Ask the reporter why they do not want to write the story. Try to work with them until they like your pitch. If you do not find success with your pitch, Hinman also gave another set of instructions for “staying the course.”

1. Don’t panic.
2. Avoid a war.
3. Stay positive.
4. Bury it in facts.
5. Be visual.

Don’t give up too quickly if you aren’t having success. Politely deal with your reporter by asking why. Back your pitch up with so many facts that nobody could turn it down. If the reporter doesn’t understand why your story is important, use analogies or visuals to explain yourself more clearly. Make sure they know that your story matters.

I learned a lot from his presentation, as well as from the other professional lecturers! If you ever have the opportunity to attend a Regional Activity, I highly recommend going. The experience was invaluable!

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