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High Tech, PR, and Going Back to the Basics
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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In this day and age of high technology, social media/marketing (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.), and the impact each has had, and will continue to have, on our profession, I think a reminder about “the basics” is probably a good thing.

This may be a good refresher for those who have been doing PR for a number of years and of value to those just entering our profession.

The following are some thoughts I have about “the basics” gained from several years of PR experience:

Network, network, network!
Even though email and social media have made communication much easier, as other bloggers have previously commented, these tools are impersonal at best and somewhat dangerous at worst. Take advantage of every opportunity to get to personally meet and speak with industry colleagues, both inside and outside your firm, and those in the trade media on whom we all depend to help us in our duties. The personal relationships thereby formed do matter.

Use trade media press kits to help you with product launches, news, and important announcements.
Some years ago, when I was the PR manager for an engineering services firm here in NJ, one of my duties was to contact trade media editorial contacts about press releases. Quite a few times I received the comment of, “Well, we have already put our XX issue into production and your news will have to wait for the next issue.” While the rise of online publications has made the pitching and placement of press releases and similar items much easier, even those forms of new media have production deadlines. Editors truly appreciate a PR person who has taken the time to determine the best possible time for their press release or announcement to be placed. Editors are not our enemies; they can (and should!) be our friends. And, while looking at publication media kits, if you see a special issue being devoted to your company’s area of expertise, be sure to mention it to your editorial contact. He or she will thank you for it and you will find your placement to be more successful.

Trade shows, trade shows, trade shows!
As I mentioned above in my comment about networking, trade shows are not only a good way for PR professionals to help with new lead generation for their companies, they are also an excellent opportunity to meet those editorial contacts with whom you have been emailing, social media interfacing, and speaking with on the telephone.

Always be aware of what is being said about your company.
It is not good enough to simply achieve good placements in trade media, in print, or online. You need to be constantly aware of what is being said about your company and its products, both internally and externally. Use your internal colleagues as ways of obtaining what is known as reputational intelligence, good and bad.

Have a crisis communication plan in place “before” you need it.
I am sure we can all remember the horrific accident and accompanying huge oil spill as a result of the BP oil well disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. I am equally sure we can all remember the PR disaster that was in the initial stages when news came out that the Chairman of the Board of the entire BP conglomerate seemed more concerned about his golf game than the environmental disaster and the challenges it posed to ablate and cleanup. A proactive crisis communications plan already in place to handle such events would probably have saved BP a lot of headaches. Be sure you and your CIO or your communications director have a good, working, pro-active crisis plan ready to go into action in the event of any occasion when bad publicity might otherwise result.

I am sure there are some other basics that I could share with you, but these are the ones I feel to be the most important in this day of high technology, new media, and social media/marketing. What do you think? I would like to hear from you with your comments.

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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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